03 Sep 10 Preamble – Friday, 3 September 2010In recent days we have seen sections of the media feigning genuine surprise at an agreement between the Labor Party and the Greens. Whilst not in a formal coalition, the Greens will ensure supply and oppose ‘no confidence' motions in a Labor minority government, should that emerge. There are also commitments in the agreement to regular meetings and briefings from senior Ministers and their Departments. Although there are some policy concessions contained in the agreement, these don't explicitly refer to the Greens tax policies.
With the half-Senate election likely to result in an upper house where nine Greens Senators hold the balance of power from 1 July 2011, whether the next government is a Liberal/National minority or a Labor minority, they will need to secure the support of the Greens in the Senate. With this in mind, I thought it was worth recapping some details of the Greens' tax policies.
The Greens believe the goods and services tax is unfair and regressive, hence they prefer progressive taxes like income tax. They also believe that inequities in the personal tax system would be reduced by lowering tax breaks for high income earners; removing CGT concessions; taxing family trusts as companies; and introducing a new top marginal tax rate of 50 per cent on incomes of $1 million or more. They also commit to introducing an estate (death) tax with a $5 million threshold; levying a carbon tax and other ecological taxes and charges; raising the company tax rate to 33 per cent and broadening the base by reducing tax concessions. This is in addition to increasing the proposed minerals resource rent tax.
It is clear that a Liberal/National or Labor minority government can look forward to some interesting policy debates - debates that the Taxation Institute will continue to be a part of in arguing for a better tax system.
Please see below for details of other activities this week.
Robert Jeremenko FTIA