Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has returned from his COVID-19 sick bed to boast of his government's record on tax cuts, which he sees as a major point of difference with Labor as the country goes to the polls this year.
But shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers accused Mr Frydenberg of launching a scare campaign when his government has taxed Australians at a much higher rate than Labor ever did.
Mr Frydenberg says since the coalition came to power in 2013 the government has provided $1.5 billion a month of tax relief to income earners, particularly for those in the low and middle income bracket.
He said in the past six months alone 11.7 million Australians have enjoyed $15.5 billion in tax relief, the largest set of reductions over a half-year period in more than two decades.
He said this will be a clear battleline at the upcoming election.
"Anthony Albanese has spent his whole career arguing for higher taxes," he told Sky News of the opposition leader.
"Whether it was the retirees tax, or the housing tax, superannuation tax, and he was a big supporter of the carbon tax and the mining tax. He has even talked about a congestion tax and other other taxes. So he can't walk away from that."
Mr Frydenberg said Labor took $397 billion worth of taxes to the last election.
However, this was a figure drummed up by his office rather than calculated by Treasury.
Dr Chalmers accused the treasurer of mounting "another desperate scare campaign", insisting that Labor will not be taking those tax increases to the next election.
"We've been saying that for some time now," he told the Nine Network.
"Taxes are actually higher under this government than they were under Labor, people are paying much more tax now than they were back then."
He said Mr Frydenberg's own mid-year budget review released in December shows tax as proportion of the economy averaged 20.85 per cent under Labor between 2008 and 2013, compared to 22.5 per cent under the coalition between 2014 and 2021.
"Despite increased taxes this government has delivered more consecutive deficits than any other government since the 1920s, and racked up record debt with not enough to show for it," Dr Chalmers said.
He said to rein in a trillion dollars worth of debt, a Labor government would invest wisely to grow the economy, while dealing with some of the rorts and waste that have been seen under this government.
"There might be opportunities to make sure that multinational corporations pay their fair share of tax here in Australia," he added.
Australian Associated Press
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