Tax Cuts: Another Morrison Win

PM Scott Morrison could afford to be magnanimous to defeated former Labor leader Bill Shorten when parliament resumed this week. Not only has Morrison won an election Shorten thought was his for the taking, but the Coalition has secured a major victory in the first sitting days of the new parliament.

The government is certain to pass its core-promise tax cuts through both houses. Labor is looking rudderless in defeat, flailing back and forth hopelessly. Senior Labor figures denounced the planned tax cuts, only to see the party resignedly wave them through the lower house, betting on a strategy of amending them in the Senate.

That strategy is now in tatters, too.

The Federal Government has secured enough crossbench support to pass all three stages of its $158 billion income tax cut plan.

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has confirmed she will vote for the package when it is introduced into the Senate later today.

Naturally, Lambie is asking for her pound of flesh. In a move that is sure to win her support in her home state, Lambie is pressuring the government to waive its historical public housing debt, a 60s and 70s-era albatross around the state’s economic neck.

Senator Lambie had demanded more support for social housing in Tasmania ahead of the vote…[Finance Minister] Senator Cormann said the Government was “always happy to engage” with senators on issues of concern to them.

With Lambie on board, the government is all-but guaranteed to pass its cuts.

The Coalition holds 35 of the Senate’s 76 seats, meaning it needed the support of at least four of the six crossbenchers to pass legislation opposed by Labor and the Greens.

Centre Alliance has confirmed it will support all stages of the income tax package, along with Cory Bernardi.

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick said he would support stage three of the tax cuts despite early reservations, provided the Government committed to lowering electricity prices.

Senator Patrick had raised concerns any extra tax relief could be eaten by rising gas and power prices.

Lowering power prices was another key promise by the government, so it’s only right that the cross-benchers should hold them to it. It remains to be seen, though, how the Centre Alliance will square their demands for lower electricity prices with its concurrent demand to cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 30%.

Despite yet another kicking, Labor are still yapping away, trying to act tough.

Federal Labor still intends to amend the legislation in the Senate, but has also reserved the right to change its position if that bid fails.

“We’ll still put all of our efforts into our amendments,” Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers told the ABC.

Labor at the moment are the political version of car-crash entertainment.