29 January 2024

The PM might just be wanting all those taxing questions about his integrity

| Chris Johnson
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Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia

Giving more Australians more of a tax cut can’t hurt the government’s election chances. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Anthony Albanese has come under a lot of fire over his broken election promise not to dump or change the stage 3 tax cuts legislated under the previous Coalition government.

The Prime Minister can expect a lot more of it.

But here’s the thing – he is expecting more flak and questions. In fact, he’s counting on it.

The more opportunity he is given to explain that the changes were necessary to ”help all Australians”, the better it is likely to play out for the government.

These words from his National Press Club address on Thursday (25 January) are a pretty strong indication that the PM wants to be called on why he backflipped.

“Australians are looking for more help. Australians deserve more help,” he said.

“And today I can confirm that more help is on the way.

“Today, I announce that from the 1st of July this year, our government will deliver a tax cut for every Australian taxpayer.

“All 13.6 million taxpayers, not just some. Everyone who works and pays tax will benefit.

“This is a plan for middle Australia that delivers for every Australian taxpayer, right up and down the income ladder.”

For many (read most) Australians, those are welcome words.

READ ALSO Tax cuts for all, but not as much for the big earners

What they’re hearing is the government has changed its course to suit current circumstances and to benefit them.

Only the higher-income earners have a legitimate gripe – and it is legitimate.

They had expected and planned for a bigger tax break than they will now get.

Some plans might have to change because of it.

But the Prime Minister was speaking to the far greater majority of Australians and telling them that he had felt their pain.

Question after question at the press club went to why the PM broke an election promise not to mess with the stage 3 tax cuts Scott Morrison put in place.

As uncomfortable as questions about his personal integrity and honesty might seem to have made the Prime Minister appear, he was probably loving it.

A few snippets of his answers:

“We are being very upfront with the Australian people that when economic circumstances have changed, it is a responsible thing to do to change our policy. And we are changing our policy for the right reasons.”

And later: “As Prime Minister, I have a responsibility to act, and that is what we are doing here. We are acting in a way in which we will provide assistance to people without adding to inflation because that will be counter-productive.”

And again: “This was not just the best way by an option, it wasn’t in a marginal call, this is overwhelmingly the best way that we can do that, that’s the advice that we received and I think it is absolutely right. And that is what has given us the confidence that what we are doing here is the right thing.”

They are just a few lines from Mr Albanese’s address and the Q&A that followed.

READ ALSO ScoMo to retire from federal politics

The Opposition straight away labelled him as treacherous and they will continue to call him out on ”lying” to the Australian public.

But they shouldn’t for a moment think the government hasn’t already strategised about that.

Albo wants those attacks to keep coming in. He wants to be able to keep repeating that his role as Prime Minister is to do what’s needed for the country – even if that means changing his mind.

The Coalition is right to say that these changes are very much about politics. It’s all politics.

And anyone is justified in feeling very cynical about it.

But that won’t necessarily dampen Labor’s standing in the polls.

The PM might well be perceived as being decisive.

And speaking of polls – his press club address reeked of campaigning.

This issue will now play out as a major battleground for the next election.

And that election might come earlier than expected if this strategic move actually gives the government a good and sustained bounce in the polls.

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devils_advocate9:49 am 31 Jan 24

We should be no more surprised when a politician breaks their (even repeated) promise, than we should be when a career criminal reoffends.

However, that is not to say there should not be consequences.

devils_advocate1:51 pm 30 Jan 24

Next backflip – negative gearing


*grabs popcorn*

We can but hope … and that they also address the generous capital gain tax concessions. And of course, from 1 July 2025, they will address the outrageous 15% concession on income into accumulation account super holdings over $3m, by increasing it to 30%.

devils_advocate6:31 pm 30 Jan 24


lol wait until you see what happens when “mum and dad” investors are prevented from claiming rental losses from their PAYG income

But wealthy individuals can offset rental losses against multiple positive cashflow properties

It’ll it be worth it for the lefty tears alone

And the best part is they’ll have nobody to blame but themselves

Ever heard of ‘grandfathering legislation’? It’s the concept Labor proposed from the outset, when they originally announced the review of negative gearing. So no issue for existing ‘mum and dad investors’.

… as for the “wealthy individuals can offset rental losses against multiple positive cashflow properties”, well they can do that now – so what’s new?

devils_advocate8:19 pm 30 Jan 24

“What’s new” is that it will create

-one class of investors that can offset losses against other rental income (or who have grandfathered assets – noting that over time, the longer the asset has been held the less likely it will be running at a loss); and

-one class of investors (new buyers) who cannot offset the losses.

I support it just for the sheer hilarity that will ensue

Oh my god! What a surprise! Grandfathering legislation achieves a graduated withdrawal of an “entitlement” so as not to disadvantage those who have made decisions in the past.
Wow – that’s side splitting entertainment!

devils_advocate9:40 am 31 Jan 24

lol no

The side-splitting entertainment comes when all the bleeding heart leftists realise they have entrenched a class system of large wealthy landlords with multiple properties, and lifetime serf tenants at their mercy…

All while having done virtually nothing for either tax expenditures or housing affordability

That’s the hilarious part

LOL – those large wealthy landlords are already entrenched … the good thing is that removing negative gearing means they wouldn’t be able to expand their portfolio to suck even more on the public teat. Who knows – some may even get spooked by the portent of more change, and decide to move out of the property market, prompting an increase in housing supply.

devils_advocate1:03 pm 31 Jan 24


“the good thing is that removing negative gearing means they wouldn’t be able to expand their portfolio to suck even more on the public teat.”

No – this is EXACTLY what it means. You clearly don’t know what income quarantining means or how negative gearing actually works.

It would retain the incentives of the the large landlords

Maybe the best way for you to find out is to let them implement it so you can understand


More than happy for the government to implement it – but I hope they do so soon, before your ‘lmao hysteria’ leads you to run out of “o’s” on your keyboard.

devils_advocate12:33 pm 30 Jan 24

Only an absolute moron would build an economic model for tax revenue based on the assumption that changing the rate of tax doesn’t affect behaviour.

I.e hold the total amount of hours worked constant and just multiply by a higher percentage tax take

Well perhaps not “a” moron but a specific collection of them.

Australia has had a progressive income tax system – i.e. based on income brackets, since the middle of the 20th Century.

So the moronic behaviour has been around for quite some time!

Given that Treasury has published that it incorporates response behaviour in its micro-economic models, wouldn’t it be a bit moronic to say they don’t?

devils_advocate6:48 pm 30 Jan 24

“Where practicable to do so”

“No second round effects”


Unrelated, can I interest you in a bridge I have for sale?

Well done by Mr “My word is my bond” who said literally the week before, that they were committed to the legislated stage 3 tax cuts.

He has shown that he is a liar that will happily break his word and do it with a smirk on his face if he thinks he can gain from it politically. He has zero credibility and should have no doubt as to why no-one will ever trust a word he says from this point on.

These changes will lead to tens of billions of dollars MORE being pulled out of Australian taxpayers pockets over the coming years.

Tax and spend, tax and spend. After voting Labour for nearly my entire adult life, they have permanently lost my vote over this and other garbage they have pulled over the last 18 months.

devils_advocate11:58 pm 29 Jan 24

Lmao there is no “question” about his integrity

It’s now been proven it doesn’t exist!

devils_advocate11:42 pm 29 Jan 24

No sensible person works an additional hour for 53 cents on the dollar

This backflip will just reinforce incentives for more aggressive tax planning

People who are paying 47 cents in the dollar in tax typically do not work variable hours at a hamburger chain or on a shop floor. Consulting or similar professional work is well rewarded by retaining more than half a large hourly rate of hundreds to thousands, if they bother to change hours at all. Mostly, it’s just more or less money from what you already do regardless of tax.

What sensible person would risk “aggressive tax planning” over a change about 2% of a putative $200k income? People at that level are still often salaried, and those who are not might have more interesting things to do at work. Is there some terrible problem with being in the top 5% of regular incomes, and when the top 20% earn 48% of all income?

devils_advocate12:28 pm 30 Jan 24


“People who are paying 47 cents in the dollar in tax typically do not work variable hours at a hamburger chain or on a shop floor. ”

Where did I suggest they do?

If you want to post something relevant to my post in reply, some starting points:
1) people shifting to part-time arrangements or job sharing
2) people working 6 months on/six months off over the course of a financial year
3) taking time out of the workforce to care for children and also collect child care subsidies (the progressive removal of which is also a “tax” in economic terms”
4) leaving business profits in a company tax structure

Or maybe think about how people actually behave in response to incentives put in front of them

The premise is obvious. You need to be earning over $180,000 currently, $190,000 soon, to be taxed at 45c in the dollar. The top 5% of income earners are not and will not be in any pain from getting MORE money than now after the projected revised cuts. Lower paid workers on 30c or less in the dollar tax see profit in working more.

If in one of your weird examples someone wants to practically halve their income rather than make still more income then I am sure other ambitious people will be delighted to take over their role. Those new people may well have a better grasp of reality.

devils_advocate5:51 pm 30 Jan 24


Strong comprehension

You seem to think that a person on (let’s say) $200k by taking their annual leave at half pay, would “practically halve their income”

Says it all really

HiddenDragon8:22 pm 29 Jan 24

“As uncomfortable as questions about his personal integrity and honesty might seem to have made the Prime Minister appear, he was probably loving it.”

If the politician who fronted the National Press Club last Thursday was loving it, he did a very good job of hiding that – the voice, the facial expressions and the body language all said the exact opposite, particularly when several of the journalists tried, in vain, to get him to acknowledge that a big promise had been broken.

A serious debate about taxing and spending is long overdue in this country, but by their handling of this issue, Albanese and his government have destroyed much of the public trust that would have been needed to lead such a debate and made it so much easier (and tempting) for a thus far short on big ideas Opposition to play the politics of the 24-hour news cycle.

Terrence O\'Brien4:01 pm 29 Jan 24

Nice try. But the unaddressed issue is that most of the cost of living pressures were caused by Labor policies in the first place, through energy, labour market and regulatory idiocies destroying productivity growth and thereby preventing real growth in living standards. Robbing Peter to partly pay Paul will leave both Peter and Paul disgruntled, and an economy still unable to generate real growth in living standards.
You can’t redistribute what you haven’t produced.

“They had expected and planned for a bigger tax break than they will now get.”

If anyone on a higher income was planning like they *depended* on those tax cuts, they don’t deserve them for the simple fact of sheer fiscal idiocy.

devils_advocate11:41 pm 29 Jan 24

Yes believing the repeated promises of an elected official is idiocy

So sad that society has become so cynical

By the same token he’s exposed himself as a liar that wants sacking

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