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PM and Labor trade blows over tax cuts voters won’t see till 2024

These changes will deliver an annual tax saving of $9075 or $174.52 a week to a person earning $200,000. For a person on $80,000, the changes mean an extra $875 a year or $16.80 a week in relief.

A person on $40,000 does not get any tax reduction from the 2024-25 cuts.

Mr Morrison, visiting the Queensland regional centre of Rockhampton, said everyone earning more than $45,000 a year would be better off under the tax cuts brought forward to this year.

He then focused on Labor’s position towards the 2024-25 tax cuts, accusing the opposition of trying to “pull the rug” from under a plan that rewarded blue collar workers and had been supported by Australians at the last election.

“I don’t think they should be penalised and treated like they’re some merchant banker in Sydney. They’re not, they’re hardworking people working out on mines and difficult parts of the country. I think they deserve a tax cut,” he said.

“(Labor has) had 18 months to work out what their position was on tax. If you can’t work out 18 months after an election or thereabouts that they were dud policies, you never will, and you’ll never be able to believe anything they say on taxes going forward.”

But Mr Chalmers, addressing the National Press Club, said it was “unnerving” the Prime Minister was discussing the 2019 federal election campaign while the country was in its deepest recession since the 1930s.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the comments from Prime Minister Scott Morrison were unnerving and went to his character.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the comments from Prime Minister Scott Morrison were unnerving and went to his character.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“This guy is only ever comfortable talking about his opponents, whether it’s us, whether it’s the Labor premiers, he’s the most political prime minister that I have seen and the circumstances demand something better,” he said.

“He spends his time traipsing around banging on about the Labor Party from 18 months ago. I think that’s unnerving. I think it’s inappropriate. I think it’s disappointing and I think it goes to his character.”

The Labor Party on Wednesday evening started running an online advertisement targeting the government’s handling of cost of living pressures, unemployment, under-employment and superannuation savings.

The ad features images from the Great Depression as well as lines of people standing outside of Centrelink offices from recent months.

“Their years in office keep going up, but your standard of living keeps going down,” it says.

Mr Chalmers would not be drawn on Labor’s position towards the 2024-25 tax cuts, saying they were a long way off and would have to be balanced against other policies that may do more to drive down unemployment faster than the government was forecasting.

The argument over the tax cuts followed the release of the closely watched Westpac measure of consumer sentiment, which soared to its highest level in more than two years in the wake of the federal budget.

Sentiment jumped by 11.9 per cent in October with optimists out-numbering pessimists for the first time since 2018. Confidence has now increased 32 per cent over the past two months with gains in every state.

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Since 2010, Westpac has asked survey participants whether the budget had improved their finances. A clear majority over the period have said they expected the budget to hurt their personal bottom line.

The 2020 budget found an overall positive balance of 9.5 per cent, the first time any budget has shown a positive response.

But the positivity was only among male respondents with a net 21.9 per cent of men saying their finances were improved by the budget. Among women, minus 3.7 per cent said it would be positive.

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