The Coalition has revived its “Kill Bill” strategy which aims to damage Labor leader Bill Shorten’s credibility.
- Government revives strategy to attack Bill Shorten’s credibility
- Labor questions the fairness of the Government’s budget tax cuts
- Five by-elections looming
Mr Shorten will deliver his budget reply speech this evening and will lead the ALP’s fight in five looming by-elections.
As the debate over the fairness of the income tax cuts proposed in the budget rages, Government ministers targeted Mr Shorten, labelling him “shifty” and untrustworthy.
“The approach of the leader of the Opposition has been characterised by narcissistic self interest throughout his entire political career,” Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said.
The plan to attack Mr Shorten’s character has been redeployed as the Government defends its tax plan and prepares for the by-elections sparked by five resignations, four of them over dual citizenship.
The Government has attacked Mr Shorten’s approach to the citizenship issue, repeatedly mocking him for having given a “rolled gold” guarantee that Labor MPs were eligible.
During question time, Treasurer Scott Morrison called Mr Shorten a “rolled gold failure” and a “rolled gold fake”.
“What we see in the leader of the Opposition is a shifty character, he is shifty as,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Shorten will detail his response to the Government’s budget tax plan tonight.
He is expected to reveal if he will back the full extent of the Government’s $140 billion of income tax cuts.
Labor has been questioning the fairness of the final step of the plan, which removes one tax bracket and means people pay the same tax rate whether they earn $40,000 a year or $200,000.
The Opposition has highlighted that Grattan Institute research found $15 billion of the annual $25 billion cost of the plan would result from collecting less tax from the top 20 per cent of income earners.
Mr Turnbull defended the budget tax plan.
“Someone on $205,000 taxable income earning five times as much as someone on $41,000 will pay 13 times as much tax,” Mr Turnbull said.
“The tax system remains thoroughly progressive in the sense that the bulk of the tax is paid by people on higher incomes.
“The bulk of the tax, as it is now, will be paid by the few and not by the many.”
It is still unclear if the three-stage tax reduction policy unveiled in Tuesday’s budget will pass the Senate in its entirety
The Government insists the seven-year plan must be dealt with immediately and not split into separate bills.
But Labor, the Greens and One Nation are all reluctant to support the final and most drastic element of the plan, which is to scrap the 37 per cent tax bracket and make the system much flatter.