Dutton says Coalition ‘won’t stand in the way’ of tax cuts for Australians

Dutton hints at support for Labor's tax plan

The government’s amended stage-three tax cuts will become law after Opposition Leader Peter Dutton revealed the Coalition will “not stand in the way” of Australians getting a tax handout.

The Coalition dealt with the issue of Labor Party’s proposed tax-cut changes at a joint party room meeting on Tuesday.

Afterwards Dutton said Australians were “hurting because of this government, because of this Prime Minister” and were in clear need of tax relief.

“The Coalition is not going to stand in the way of providing support to Australians who are doing it tough,” Dutton said.

“We are supporting this change not to support the Prime Minister’s lie but to support families who need help now.”

Treasurer Jim Chalmers introduced legislation for the stage-three tax cuts to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, as parliament resumed for 2024.

A rowdy question time was dominated by the issue as Labor goaded the Opposition and accused it of wanting to block tax relief for Australians.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Coalition was “tying themselves in knots” and “flip-flopping” after not revealing their position on the tax cuts for “middle Australia” until now.

“They’ve been tightening the screws on themselves as they tie themselves in knots,” Albanese said.

“First they said they’d fight it, then they said they’d roll it back, now they say they’ll have a different position completely.

“Then they say, ‘oh, we’ll wait and we’ll decide in weeks to come’.”

Dutton continued to labelled Albanese a “liar in the Lodge” for breaking his election promise to leave the cuts untouched. He said the Coalition would take its own policy to reduce taxes for Australians to the next election.

Under Labor’s revised package, people earning less than $150,000 will receive a greater tax cut than they would previously. Those who earn more will still receive benefits but less than previously forecast.

Earlier, independent MP Allegra Spender announced she would back the government’s plan.

Spender holds the Sydney seat of Wentworth, one of the wealthiest in the country. She said even there the revamped tax cut package was popular.

“My consultation with the Wentworth community has shown widespread support for the government’s changes,” Spender said.

Melbourne independent MPs Monique Ryan (Kooyong) and Zoe Daniel (Goldstein) have also signalled support for the revised plan.

In fact, none of the independents’ votes will be needed, given the Coalition’s decision to wave the package through parliament.

Albanese has signalled he wants the changes legislated by Easter before coming into effect in July.

Tuesday’s developments came as economic analysis showed electorates held by Nationals MPs would gain most from the altered policy.

Findings released by the Australia Institute revealed voters in Nationals-held electorates will receive a $326 cut, while those in Liberal seats will be $226 better off.

Voters in electorates held by the government will receive an extra $229 per person.

The institute’s senior economist Matt Grundoff said the majority of taxpayers would be winners under the changes.

“National Party electorates are the biggest beneficiaries, to the tune of $451 million over the coming financial year, because the benefits of the modified cuts flow disproportionately to poorer rural electorates,” he said.

“Redistributing the bulk of the tax cuts to low and middle-income earners will help those doing it the toughest while preserving the progressive nature of our tax system.”

-with AAP

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