Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has returned from sick leave after being diagnosed with COVID-19 to promote the Coalition government’s record on tax cuts, highlighting the difference with Labor’s policies as the federal election is approaching.
However, Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers has said that Frydenberg’s push for the Liberal Party was a scare campaign, saying the federal government’s tax rate on Australians was higher than what the Labor Party ever did.
Frydenberg told Sky News that since the Liberal-National coalition government had assumed power in 2013, taxpayers have received $1.5 billion worth of tax relief every month, with the federal government providing 11.7 million Australians with $15 billion in tax relief in the last six months alone. That is the highest half-year period set of reductions in more than two decades.
The federal treasure also noted that he considered the tax cuts a clear divisive line differentiating the Coalition from the other parties at the upcoming election.
“Anthony Albanese has spent his whole career arguing for higher taxes,” Frydenberg said of the opposition leader. “Whether it was the retiree’s tax, or the housing tax, superannuation tax, and he was a big supporter of the carbon tax and the mining tax. He has even talked about a congestion tax and other taxes. So he can’t walk away from that.”
Frydenberg said Labor took $397 billion worth of taxes to the last election, but the figure was calculated by the Treasurer’s personal office, not the Treasury Department.
Shadow Treasurer Chalmers alleged Frydenberg was launching a scare campaign about Labor and said that taxes have been higher under the coalition government every year, as shown in Frydenberg’s mid-year budget review released last December.
He said the average personal income tax under Labor was 20.85 percent between 2008 and 2013. Meanwhile, the figure rose to 22.5 percent under the Coalition between 2014 and 2021.
“Despite increased taxes, this government has delivered more consecutive deficits than any other government since the 1920s and racked up record debt with not enough to show for it,” Chalmers said.
Treasury, in an email to The Epoch Times, reiterated Frydenberg’s comments that Australians are paying less tax today than under Labor, saying that a teacher earning $60,000 (US$43,000) is paying $2,160 (US$1,558) less in tax every year than what they paid in 2013-2014 under the then Labor government.
Frydenberg also hinted that the country’s economy is doing better, and Australian people are making more money under the Coalition’s policies.
“Today, the Australian economy is more than half a trillion dollars larger (in nominal terms), there are 1.7 million more people in work, and the average income earner is $17,000 a year better off compared with when Labor left office,” Frydenberg said.