Major tax cuts "a win for hardworking Australians": Aussie PM

2019-07-05 11:10

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CANBERRA, July 5 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government successfully passed its 158-billion-Australian dollar (110 billion U.S. dollars) income tax cuts through the parliament on Thursday night.

The tax package was passed by the senate by 56 votes to nine after the opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) ultimately agreed to support it.

As a result, more than 10 million Australians will receive a tax cut worth up to 1,080 Australian dollars (758.6 U.S. dollars) effective immediately under the first stage of the 10-year plan.

Speaking after the package was passed, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the parliament had voted to "reward aspiration."

"This is a win for those hardworking Australians quietly going about their lives," he told reporters.

"These are the people we will keep our faith with every single day, I said we would burn for them, and that is exactly what we have been doing this week and we will do every single day and week between now and the next election."

Under stage two of the plan, which will come into effect from the financial year 2022-23, the upper-income threshold for the 19 percent tax bracket will be raised from 41,000 Australian dollars (28,800 U.S. dollars) per year to 45,000 Australian dollars (31,610 U.S. dollars).

The third and final stage will flatten the tax rate for everyone earning between 45,000 and 200,000 Australian dollars (31,613.85 U.S. dollars to 140,488 U.S. dollars) per year to 30 percent from 2024/25.

Labor remains opposed to stage three of the package, which is expected to cost 95 billion Australian dollars (66.73 billion U.S. dollars) alone, but decided to support it after its proposed amendments to the bill were defeated in the Senate.

Anthony Albanese, the leader of the ALP, said that the party decided to support the package in full for the sake of "working Australians" despite concerns about the third stage.

Labor was initially opposed to stage two of the cuts as well unless they were brought forward to be implemented immediately, a suggestion that was shot down by Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

"We do not want the circumstances whereby an economy that's struggling prevents people getting a tax benefit," Albanese told reporters on Thursday night.

The tax plan was first unveiled by Frydenberg when he delivered the federal budget for financial year 2019/20 on April 2.

The policy was the foundation of Morrison's successful campaign for re-election in the general election on May 18.

Aside from the election, the successful passage of the cuts through the parliament is Morrison's biggest political victory since he became prime minister in August 2018.

The governing Liberal National Party Coalition holds only 35 out of 76 seats in the senate but had already secured the required support from crossbenchers to pass the bill before Labor came on board.

Morrison said that he was hopeful the cuts would stimulate the stagnating economy but it was up to workers to decide how to spend it.

"It's their money, it's not mine," he was quoted by The Australian as saying.

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