JOURNALIST: What should high income earners expect from the Coalition's tax policy?
JANE HUME: Well, we only announced yesterday, the position of the Coalition would take on this backflip, on this lie that Anthony Albanese told. Let me preface this by saying that Anthony Albanese went to an election, saying that there will be no changes to the stage three tax cuts and he did that because he wouldn't have won the election had he had not done that. He then told a lie more than 100 times after the election and indeed 12 times after he had commissioned Treasury to specifically unwind the stage three tax cuts. So let's call spade a spade here. Anthony Albanese has gone to the election on a lie. He has lied to the Australian people for two years, and this is his only solution to a cost of living crisis. He said at the National Press Club just a couple of weeks ago that everything else that the government has done has been ineffective. Ineffective in dealing with the cost of living crisis. And what he's decided to do instead is use this as an opportunity, a political opportunity, to unwind the stationary tax cuts which clearly they have always disliked, always disliked, which give at most somebody $15 a week extra not for another five months so it's hardly urgent is it hardly urgent. $15 a week in five months time., unfortunately the Prime Minister cannot buy integrity for $15-
JOURNALIST: Well he restored the-
JANE HUME: -and the lie will hang around his neck for the rest of his Prime Ministership.
JOURNALIST: Will you restore the tax cuts for higher income earners?
JANE HUME: The Coalition will take to the next election, a full tax package which will be lower, simpler and fairer taxes. Stage one, two and three of the personal income tax plan that was put together by the Coalition was very, very carefully calibrated. It was carefully timed. That has been junked, because this government is not just a reforming government. It's anti-reform. Anthony Albanese is clearly very comfortable with bracket creep, and we know that because he has decided to rake in an additional $28 billion from this decision over the next 10 years. That's $28 billion from people that get a pay rise, that take on extra hours, that get a new job. That's robbing people's future prosperity. That's what he's decided to do. So let's make no bones about this. This is a regressive move by this government, and it's being done to buy votes in the Dunkley by-election. How do we know that? Because he commissioned Treasury to tell us how many people in Dudley would be better off but he failed to commissioned Treasury to tell us how many people would pay more tax over the next ten years.
JOURNALIST: So if you're promising lower taxes, can people expect that 37% tax bracket to go if there’s a Coalition Government?
JANE HUME: As I said, the original tax package was very carefully calibrated, and it was very carefully timed. We will do the work that is necessary to make sure that we can reform our tax system to inject aspiration back into the tax system lower and simpler and fairer, but it must also be fiscally responsible. So we will recalibrate a tax package and we'll take that to the next election. Not only that, but we have to take into account what other announcements Anthony Albanese will make, and quite frankly, he has been very wobbly on his answers around negative gearing, around tax on the family home, around capital gains tax. I would bet almost my bottom dollar that there will be an announcement on negative gearing probably within the next six months. And of course our tax package will have to respond to that.
JOURNALIST: Just on another matter, David Littleproud has said that no new renewable energy project should be constructed in the bush. Do you agree with that idea?
JANE HUME: I think you're probably better off asking the Shadow Minister for Energy on that one. We've always had a renewable energy target, you know, back since Tony Abbott days and renewable energy is such an important part of our energy mix. However, the real problem is baseload power is diminishing at the same time, which is why the Coalition government has been urging, sorry the Coalition opposition has been urging the government to consider new baseload power alternatives not just supplement with gas right now to bring down wholesale price of energy but also consider nuclear for the future, which is a zero emissions baseload power,
JOURNALIST: Senator, the right to disconnect in this IR legislation. Do you think it's worth having at least a debate over the rights of workers once they step outside the workplace?
JANE HUME: You know this Government just loves making rules and not making laws don't say other things that, in all honesty, should be common sense, should just be a polite conversation between employers and employees. If we're genuine about flexible workplaces, if we're genuine about allowing people to take time off to go and pick up their kids from school, for instance, well then I think we've got to have sensible conversations about what rights and obligations exist between employers and employees. But why do you need to keep making rules, keep making laws treating everybody as the lowest common denominator? How about we just grow up a little bit.
JOURNALIST: So that's a no then?
JANE HUME: I think that there are certain more sensible ways of dealing with the right to disconnect.
JOURNALIST: The unions are going to hand down a report on price gouging. Your party and the unions may not have seen eye to eye but do you agree that we should crack down on anti-competitive behavior among the major supermarkets, the airlines, and the energy companies have all lifted their prices over the last few years.
JANE HUME: Competition is one of the great drivers of productivity, and let's be honest, productivity has tanked in this country. In fact, it's going backwards and that's one of the reasons why we have essentially zero economic growth. If it wasn't for the fact that we have such a poorly managed migration program. That's the only thing that's propping up economic growth in this country. We're in a per capita recession and we'd be in a real recession if it wasn't for that immigration program. We must inject some turbocharged productivity. Competition is part of it, reducing red tape is part of it, reducing the price of energy is part of it. And guess what? Tax reform is part of that too.
JOURNALIST: Do supermarkets have a case to answer though for the fact that prices still remain inflated, even though inflation is falling?
JANE HUME: Well, I think that the agency is investigating that right now. And we would support an agency investigation into competition in all industries, including supermarkets.
JOURNALIST: Senator, if the stage three changes are just a cynical play at Dunkley, isn't the same true of the Liberals decision to fall into line on stage three?
JANE HUME: Quite the opposite. Stage three as legislated has been junked. It's been junked. There is no way that that will go ahead on July 1 2024. Now we will never stand in the way of a tax cut. Particularly for people that are doing it tough right now, which is why we want to support the reduction in the tax bracket from 19 cents down to 16 cents. The only way we can do that, however, is to support the whole package. What we have said though, is that we want to see a reforming tax package that will inject that productivity back into our economy. That's what we’ll be taking to the next election. It will be lower, simpler, fairer taxes. It will restore aspiration. It will be fully costed. It will go through all the right processes, dare I say unlike this tax backflip of Anthony Albanese, which circumvented cabinet processes, his own rules. It will make sure that we can still pay for essential services and most importantly, it will be ready to implement the moment that a Coalition government returns.