Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been quick to attack Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s pledge to repeal company tax cuts if Labor wins the next election.
Mr Turnbull has said that there is now a “political war” being waged over Australia’s taxation policy. This news comes not long after the Government successfully passed $144 billion in tax cuts through the Senate and after Mr Shorten declared Labor would repeal the cuts to company tax rates if elected to power.
Mr Turnbull called the move by Labor an “assault on jobs” an “assault on enterprise” and an “assault on innovation” as well as attacking “family businesses”. To make his point clearer, Mr Turnbull put on a high-vis vest and visited a family owned business that is jointly owned by ACT Liberal Party president, Arthur Potter.
The company that Mr Turnbull visited, Universal Trusses, will, as of the new financial year, pay 27.5% in tax rather than 30% under the new legislation passed by the Government. Mr Potter told the Prime Minister that the tax cuts would make his business more competitive and will enable it to grow, ultimately contributing more in tax “in the long run”.
Mr Turnbull went on to say that Bill Shorten was the “biggest threat to a strong economy” and that his pledge to repeal the company tax cuts was “part of his war on business”. This is not the first time Mr Turnbull has accused Mr Shorten of waging a “war on business”, with the line being very popular in Liberal circles during the last election.
Labor policy on the tax cuts was announced in a single-word answer by Mr Shorten on Tuesday. However, Mr Shorten said that Labor had other options on the table for business that would end up paying more in tax.
He said that, for businesses, a Labor Government would provide better broadband internet, better training and infrastructure as well as lower prices on power.
Mr Turnbull has also attacked Mr Shorten on his approach to announcing the Labor policy, accusing him of making a “captain’s call” without consulting with his Labor colleagues.
In a morning radio interview, Labor backbencher Ross Hart called Mr Shorten’s decision a “captain’s call”. After being pressed over a dozen times for an answer, Mr Hart eventually said that he supported Bill Shorten’s decision.
So far the Senate has refused to pass the Government’s full corporate tax cut plan.