Jim Chalmers
Jim Chalmers

Viellaris: Labor hasn’t learnt its lesson on tax

FEDERAL Labor has a fresh Queensland face in its shadow treasury portfolio, but it continues to repeat the mistakes of the past, writes Renee Viellaris.

She stopped, looked at him and said, "F--- yeah, give me one of those," taking an LNP how-to-vote card, adding to the tsunami of Queenslanders who punished Labor for its high-taxing, big spending, city-centric and snobby election campaign.

New shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers is a Queenslander - appointed partially to connect to a state that dramatically repudiated Labor's policies.

Yet Chalmers and others in Labor are stewing over their unexpected election loss, and want a fight on the Coalition's $160 billion personal income tax cuts.

One of the reasons Labor lost the unloseable election was because of tax, yet here it is again wanting a fight on the issue.

Just remember, in Queensland, Labor won just one Senate seat with just 22.6 per cent of the vote.

Labor's leadership is genuinely torn on passing the Coalition Government's tax cuts. Some definitely want the "tax monkey off their back".

 

Member for Rankin Jim Chalmers is Opposition treasury spokesman. Picture: Claudia Baxter
Member for Rankin Jim Chalmers is Opposition treasury spokesman. Picture: Claudia Baxter

 

Labor has shifted its language and will now support stage two that supports low to middle income earners, but Chalmers and others, who railed against "the top end of town" are heavily arguing against stage three.

Stage three is geared at higher income earners, and from 2024-25, the marginal tax rate will be reduced from 32.5 per cent to 30 per cent, costing $95 billion.

Those tax cuts will give those who earn $110,000 and $200,000 the biggest windfall, with $3740 and $11,640 respectively.

Labor want to know how much will be spent on giving those who earn between $180,000-$200,00 a tax cut. That just reminds voters Labor has not moved on from its class war agenda.

Labor is arguing the Coalition does not have a mandate for all its tax cuts, with the final tranche starting in six years' time.

They also believe the economy can't afford it and the money could be better spent on services.

That argument can be shredded many ways.

The Coalition won and it arguably had just one major policy during the campaign, tax cuts.

The fact that the Coalition had little else in its policy bag was rammed home by Labor for five weeks.

The argument that the Government doesn't have a mandate for the entire tax policy is akin to arguing parties don't have a mandate for their 10-year health and education payments to the states.

Labor is not governing, it is in Opposition and it keeps on telling the media it is not the story.

Being in Opposition does not sideline them having to make decisions.

If they do not pass the tax cut package in its entirety, Labor will have learned northing from the election result - especially in Queensland.

During the mining boom, blue-collar garages of north and central Queensland were filled with suped-up Holden's, jet skies and motor bikes.

These Australians, who would come home with grease under their finger nails to watch the Broncos smash the Storm in front of the biggest television sets that could be bought from Harvey Norman, did not feel rich, even though they were earning upwards of $180,000 a year.

Life was good, but they worked hard, and many were still hardcore Labor voters who had very little in common with the suit in Sydney in a Range Rover.

In 2007 while mining was still hot, Labor held Dawson, Capricornia and Flynn. Part of that was because of the Ruddslide, but Kevin Rudd did not go down the class war route.

When the mining boom fell away, and their big paying jobs went with it, along with the investment property they could no longer afford, many of these voters have been desperate for the better part of a decade to earn that amount of money again.

Politicians frame it as aspiration. But it is more than that. It is about reward for effort. If people are sacrificing being away from their families because they are flying in and out of mines, and are working long hours, they believe there should be an incentive.

It is not just the mining industry. It's the builder or the sparky working six days a week.

And who doesn't want a tax cut?

Chalmers is a smart cookie. He's likely worried that if Labor is in power in six years time, the economy could be in dramatically different circumstances.

Taking away legislated tax cuts or cutting back in other areas that Labor views it is strong on, would be political poison.

But it is another sign Labor is getting ahead of itself.



Warning: Winter is about to turn ‘bizarre’

Warning: Winter is about to turn ‘bizarre’

Bushfire warnings may be on the cards for NSW as weather turns odd

Controversial Emerald Beach development back before council

premium_icon Controversial Emerald Beach development back before council

Emerald Beach property owner has faced fierce opposition from locals

LOCKED IN: Bowman and Boss coming for the Coffs Cup

premium_icon LOCKED IN: Bowman and Boss coming for the Coffs Cup

THE pair rode Winx and Makybe Diva to international stardom.