“Peter Costello faces a demand from the Nationals to cut the top
marginal income tax rate to 35 per cent instead of simply boosting
family payments in the May federal budget,” Elizabeth Colman and James
Riley report in The Australian
today. “The junior Coalition partner will ask the Treasurer to bring
the top tax rate of 47 per cent closer to the 30 per cent corporate
rate and consider abolishing compulsory annual tax returns for wage
earners as part of a major reform of the tax system.”

What’s this? A Nationals policy that isn’t about RARA rorts, isn’t
about pork and might actually lead to less bureaucracy? Not quite. The
yarn also says that the Nationals Queensland president, federal MP and
former minister Bruce Scott also wants reform of the zonal tax offset
system to give relief to people living in remote areas. Presumably he
doesn’t realise that we don’t run a gulag system where people are
forced to labour in our remote north.

But, gosh, it’s an interesting challenge for our tinkering Treasurer.