Tax Cuts – Interview with Leon Byner, 5AA

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Tax Cuts – Interview with Leon Byner, 5AA

Interview with Leon Byner


Friday, 3 June 2005
10.00 am (AEST)




Treasurer thanks for joining us today.


Good to be with you Leon.


When is ‘D-day’? When is the time when, if Labor do nothing, you

can pass what you put through the Budget and people will get their tax cuts,

as opposed to, well we have to wait three to twelve months?


Well if Mr Beazley were to say today that he will accept the tax cuts, everyone

could have it on the 1st of July. The small business software providers

say their ‘D-day’ is the 6th of June, it is too late

for them if Mr Beazley holds off till the 6th of June. The Tax Commissioner

says it is too late for him if this runs up to the end of June. But all it takes

is one statement. Labor has just go to say, we will not disallow the tax cuts,

and everyone can have their tax cut on 1 July. Mr Beazley refuses to say that,

and he is throwing 850,000 Australian businesses into confusion, and threatening

10 million Australian taxpayers.


Now, is this because when this Budget goes into the Senate, Labor have the

numbers to block it?


That is right. Labor has got the numbers to block the tax cuts in the Senate

up until the 30th of June, but because they lost the last election,

after the 30th of June, there will be a new Senate, and this new

Senate when it meets will be able to pass the tax cuts. The problem is what

happens in the interim, and the Tax Commissioner has said, well here is some

schedules, even though legislation has not passed yet. You can follow these

schedules, you can give out the tax cuts as long as MrBeazley won’t disallow

them as well. Mr Beazley says well I won’t give that guarantee, I’ll

try and disallow them as well, or at least keep open the option. That he will

try and disallow them as well – meaning that the legislation will not pass –

the schedules could be disallowed, 850,000 businesses are now in confusion,

and 10 million Australians will miss out on tax cuts.


Now there are two lots of tax cuts. There is some tax cuts that were put through

some time ago, that start July 1. They will happen irrespective won’t



The ones announced in last year’s Budget, will happen irrespective, but

the ones announced in this year’s Budget to apply from 1 July, are the

ones that have been thrown into confusion.


All right, so when we talk about the $6, the average, that’s an average

figure which can vary according to the salary you are on.


That is for a low income earner, $6 a week. It is $300 per annum, that is for

a lower income earner. If you earn more of course, you pay more tax, and consequently

your tax cut is larger, but that is because you are paying more tax.




When you cut taxes, then if you are not paying much, you get what seems like

a small dollar amount, but it is a large percentage amount of the tax that you

are paying. If you are higher income earner, it is a lower percentage, but in

nominal dollars it is more Leon, that is the way it works.




I keep on saying to the Labor party, if you are not paying any tax, you can

not cut it. You can not have a tax cut for people who do not pay tax Leon. You

know, x percent of nothing is still nothing, and this is the point that Mr Beazley,

he has just tied himself up into knots over this. You know he has lost the last

election, this is the first Budget that the Government has brought down. It

is an income tax Budget; he is going to loose control of the Senate at the end

of the month, and he wants to stop tax cuts which are going to apply the next



Mr Costello, is there a precedent that you can ever remember where any Government

put a Budget up, and then it was amended by the Senate successfully, and then



Well, what is happening now is unprecedented. Look, I’ve seen this Leon,

I’ve seen Governments raise taxes and the Senate kick up a fuss I’ve

never seen a Government cut taxes, and have the Senate kick up a fuss. Normally

you cut taxes and it goes through the Senate, it is only when you try and raise

them, that it (inaudible).


People listening to you and I talking this morning are going to say, well what

can I do?


Well what I would say is, get onto the Labor Members, your local Labor Member

of Parliament. There is a lot of the Labor Members who know that Mr Beazley

has made a very serious error. There is a lot of them that want to get out of

this mess, and I would say to them email or write to your Federal Labor Member

of Parliament. Tell them that this is no good, that you want your tax cut, and

that they should put pressure on Mr Beazley.


Mr Costello, thanks for joining us.


Thanks for your time Leon.