Australian politics: Labor holds firm on stage 3 tax cuts

ByRahul

Nov 29, 2023 #ABC News Inc., #Andrew Clennell, #annual inflation, #Anthony Albanese, #apartment dwellers, #Asia, #Australia, #Australia and New Zealand, #Australian Bureau of Statistics, #Australian citizenship, #Australian National University Crawford School of Public Policy, #Australian politics, #Australian thalidomide survivors, #broken citizenship loss, #budget priorities, #Burma, #caused birth defects, #citizenship laws, #citizenship loss scheme, #citizenship stripping, #constitutional law experts, #consumer price index, #contentious stage-three tax, #costed tax break, #court decision, #Courtney Gould, #criminal recordsSky, #dual citizens, #dual nationals, #Eleanor Campbell, #electronic monitoring devices, #Ellen Ransley, #Energy Consumers Australia, #energy efficiency, #energy experts, #energy-efficient rental homes, #extraordinary strength, #final meeting, #government spokesperson, #High Court, #House of Representatives, #household energy bills, #indefinite detention, #inflation numbers, #Jim Chalmers, #Katy Gallagher, #Labor backbenchers, #Labor holds firm, #market expectations, #morning sickness drug, #Neil, #newswire-news, #Oceania, #party room, #Paul Burke, #Peter Dutton, #possible preventive detention, #pregnant women, #preventative detention, #preventative detention legislation, #preventative detention regime, #preventive detention, #preventive detention legislation, #preventive detention regime, #preventive detention system, #rate rise, #relief package, #renters end, #renters power, #Reserve Bank, #risk terrorist laws, #robust preventative detention, #South-eastern Asia, #stage-three tax cuts, #Stephen Jones, #tax cuts, #terror offence, #terrorism offences, #terrorist dual-nationals, #then-home affairs minister, #unborn children


The government will introduce new laws on Wednesday to fix “Peter Dutton’s broken citizenship loss scheme” after it was struck down by the High Court.

It comes after the High Court earlier this month struck down the Coalition-era laws, introduced under then-home affairs minister Peter Dutton, that gave broad power to ministers to strip citizenship off someone convicted of a terror offence.

The ruling triggered the release of convicted terrorist Abdul Nacer Benbrika, after he successfully argued that Mr Dutton’s laws were unconstitutional.

Benbrika, who migrated to Australia from Algeria in 1989, had his citizenship cancelled by former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in 2020 after completing a 15-year sentence on terrorism offences.

The High Court ruled in his favour in a 6-1 decision, finding Section 36D of the Australian Citizenship Act invalid and that Benbrika was an Australian citizen. Benbrika had argued Section 36D could not apply in his case because it gave the home affairs minister the power to punish criminal guilt.

The new laws will instead empower a court, not a minister, to strip Australian citizenship from dual nationals who have “committed the most serious crimes, including terrorism and espionage”, a government spokesperson has confirmed.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil earlier this week flagged her intention to rush through new laws, saying Labor was committed to fix the “broken” laws which allowed ministerial discretion to cancel citizenship, and replace them with “tough and constitutionally sound” laws.

Next week, the government will introduce a “robust preventive detention and community safety order regime”.

“Modelled on high risk terrorist laws enacted under the former government and which have always enjoyed bipartisan support,” the spokesperson said.

“The Coalition should support these laws too.”

No changes to stage 3 tax cuts: Labor

The government is not looking to make changes to looming stage 3 tax cuts, despite a growing push in a cost of living crisis.

Labor backbenchers are due to meet with Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher later this week, where they are expected to air concerns that the government’s cost of living relief package should be widened.

Assistant Minister Stephen Jones reaffirmed the government was always “trying to find” savings in the budget to do more to help Australians, but was not looking at the Morrison government’s stage 3 tax cuts, due to come into effect July 1.

“There’s been no consideration of the stage three tax cuts, no discussion of that,” Mr Jones said.

“We are always looking at ways to find savings in the budget but we’re not looking at, there’s been no consideration of the stage three tax cuts.”

Stage three tax cuts are forecast to cost $313bn over a decade. In comparison, the Albanese government’s cost of living package costs the budget about $23bn.

Good news for government, borrowers in inflation numbers

Households are almost certain to be spared another rate rise when the Reserve Bank’s board convenes for its final meeting of 2023 next week after inflation eased.

The latest consumer price index figures, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday, showed annual inflation eased to 4.9 per cent in October, after prices grew by 5.6 per cent in the year September.

The result undershot market expectations of a 5.2 per cent increase.

An easing of inflationary pressures will come as welcome news for the government who are facing an erosion in the polls over their handling of the continued cost of living crunch.

Parliament ‘will’ pass laws before summer break

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has warned the parliament they won’t be “going home” until tough preventive detention legislation is passed, as constitutional law experts warn against making the laws too broad.

The High Court handed down its reasons for the NZYQ ruling on Tuesday, which found that a stateless Rohingya man from Myanmar who raped a boy was being held unlawfully in continued detention.

The decision has meant 141 people being held in indefinite detention have been released into the community.

During the last sitting week, the parliament rushed through a suite of measures that required those detainees to wear electronic monitoring devices and abide by the curfew. At the time the government said it would look to strengthen measures once they received the reasons.

Ms O’Neil said now that the government had the reasons, it would now “move quickly to establish the toughest possible preventive detention regime”, pleading for the Coalition to “work with us”.

“We are not going home until a preventive detention regime has been adopted by this parliament,” she told ABC News.

“I say to Peter Dutton today, stop slowing us down and work with us to make sure that we can pass these laws and keep the community safe.”

PM apologises for ‘dark chapter’ of thalidomide

Australian thalidomide survivors and their families have received a formal apology for the government’s role in the tragedy.

The morning sickness drug, once branded a “wonder treatment” for pregnant women, caused birth defects in thousands of babies worldwide.

It was widely distributed in Australia in the 1960s but was not tested on pregnant women before approval, and the crisis led to the formation of the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

It was later found to cause malformation of limbs, facial features and internal organs in unborn children.

An estimated 10,000 babies were born around the world with such defects. There are 146 registered survivors in Australia, however the exact number of those affected is unknown.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese addressed survivors and their families on Wednesday morning, delivering an unreserved apology on behalf of Australia, but acknowledged saying sorry “does not balance the years of inaction of inadequate support”.

“You have been survivors from the day you were born. More than that, you have been advocates, organisers, champions, and warriors,” he told the House of Representatives.

“Time and time again, you have summoned remarkable resolve. You have shown an extraordinary strength of character. Yet for so long, parliaments and governments have not proved equal to this or worthy of it.

“Too often, we have let you down.”

Mr Albanese confirmed the Australian Thalidomide Survivor Support Program would be reopened to ensure anyone who may have missed the previous opportunity to apply does not miss out.

Expand access to rooftop solar: Crossbench MP

Ambitious action must be taken to help reduce power bills for renters, energy experts have warned.

They say expanding access to rooftop solar and policy to ensure more energy-efficient rental homes are just some of the examples of action the government should take.
Renters are more than six times less likely to have solar than homeowners, and apartment dwellers are 10 times less likely, according to a recent Energy Consumers Australia survey.

Australian National University Crawford School of Public Policy deputy director Paul Burke said there was “a lot” that could be done.

“It’s clear that renters are being left behind in terms of energy efficiency and solar access,” he said.

“Our research shows that renters end up using more residential electricity than they would if they owned their own home, pushing up their power bill.”

The experts attended a roundtable hosted by Wentworth MP Allegra Spender, who represents one of the electorates with the highest proportion of renters.

She wants Labor to develop a plan to lower household energy bills with renters and apartment dwellers at the centre.

“The crossbench have put forward a set of sensible and ambitious reforms that the government must consider, including a fully costed tax break that would drive a 23 per cent increase in the switch from overpriced gas to efficient electrical appliances in rentals,” she said.

Read related topics:Peter Dutton



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