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Govt leans on Greens, independents to get revamped tax cuts over line

Politics

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has challenged crossbench senators to back in changes to stage three tax cuts, as he takes the sales pitch of the financial relief measures to the regions.

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Mr Albanese is hopeful members of the Greens and independents will back the stage three tax cuts when parliament resumes in February.

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has signalled support for the changes, saying she didn’t have a problem with more generous tax breaks being wound back and spread across those less fortunate.

“Honestly, where’s our Australian values?” she told Nine’s Today Show.

People earning less than $150,000 will get a greater tax cut than originally proposed while those above will still get a tax break, although slightly less than what was originally slated.

The changes came off the back of middle Australia doing it tough, Mr Albanese said.

“We know that low and middle-income earners are really under financial pressure, they’ve been the ones who have found the inflationary pressures in the economy more difficult,” he told Melbourne’s Nova radio on Monday.

“That’s why we have a responsibility to act to assist every taxpayer, not just some.”

While the tax changes, due to kick in on July 1, will need the support of the Senate to go through, the prime minister is confident the measures will pass.

The Greens have called for greater support for lower-income earners and a higher tax-free threshold.

Those on $155,000 or $180,000 were also part of “middle Australia”, said Mr Albanese, who is planning a blitz of regional towns and cities to argue the government’s case.

Meanwhile, the prime minister got a hostile reception from some of the crowd at the Australian Open men’s final in Melbourne on Sunday night.

Tennis-goers booed Mr Albanese after his name was read out by an announcer as he sat in the stands with his partner Jodie Haydon.

Liberal frontbencher Dan Tehan linked the reaction to the government’s stage three tax cut changes.

“When you say your word is your bond and you go back on that and you won’t even apologise for it, the Australian people are going to view that very dimly,” he told Sky News on Monday.

“So I think that’s the sort of reaction he’s going to continue to get.”

But Mr Albanese shrugged off the public spray, calling it “a bit of tradition in Australian sport”.

Senator Lambie defended the prime minister and questioned why the crowd booed him.

“We’ve got a heap of rich people over there watching the tennis finals and they’ve had a bit of their tax taken off them to pay it forward, to give to those who are less fortunate,” she told Nine.

“Is that what they’re booing him for?”

On Sunday, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton hit out at the government over the changes.

“When the government came into power, they abolished the low and middle-income tax offset, which means that people on low and middle incomes now are paying more than they were under the coalition government,” he said.

“The most important point to make here is the prime minister has broken his trust most egregiously with the Australian people.”

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