As the budget looms, we compare what Coalition leaders said in opposition with what they’re saying now. There’s quite a difference …
As Tony Abbott’s government prepares to hand down its first budget next month, there are surprise plans for a new “deficit tax” or levy, plus cuts to welfare payments for families earning over $100,000. Neither plan was mentioned before last year’s election. We compare what Coalition leaders are saying now with what they said before getting elected. Will there be some “nasty surprises and lame excuses” from Abbott after all?
On increasing taxation …
Then-shadow treasurer Joe Hockey in a media interview, June 29, 2010:
“Because under us, let me tell you, Tim, I say it with absolute, absolute conviction and with no qualifications, we will always spend less than Labor, and we will always tax less than Labor.”
Then-opposition leader Tony Abbott, February 10, 2011, in a speech to Parliament on Labor’s temporary levy after the Queensland floods:
“Why should the Australian people be hit with a levy to meet expenses which a competent, adult, prudent government should be able to cover from the ordinary revenues of government? … The one thing [people] will never have to suffer under a Coalition government is an unnecessary new tax, a tax that could easily be replaced by savings found from the budget.”
Then-opposition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey, January 25, 2011, on the flood levy:
“This is a dumb idea … It will indirectly affect everyone because there will be less money and less spending in the community …”
“But only the Coalition can be trusted to actually deliver tax cuts and genuine tax reform that will boost the economy and ease cost‑of‑living pressures for Australian families.”
In April 2014 it was revealed the Coalition plans to bring in a new “deficit tax” to get the budget closer to surplus. According to media reports, the tax would likely take the form of a direct levy or an increase in income tax rates, which would kick in for people earning $80,000-100,000.
“I think if there was a permanent increase in taxation that would certainly be inconsistent with the sort of things said before the election … I am committed to lower, simpler, fairer taxes. Do I say that no charges will rise? No, I don’t.”
On whether families on $150,000 should get social security …
Abbott, May 2011, on Labor’s move to freeze the indexation of welfare payments to families earning $150,000:
“These are class-war cuts that the government is inflicting on people.”
“The fundamental problem with this budget is that it deliberately, coldly, calculatedly plays the class war card … families on $150,000 a year are not rich, especially if they’re paying mortgages in our big cities.”