A Liberal backbencher has called for the scrapping of tax cuts for high-income earners amid growing pressure for the prime minister to do so.
Victorian MP Russell Broadbent has argued for the stage three tax cuts to be dumped, saying the measure sent the wrong message to the community.
The legislated cuts, due to begin in 2024, lower the 32.5 per cent and 37 per cent marginal tax rates to 30 per cent and flatten the tax structure for people earning between $45,000 and $200,000.
They were introduced in 2018 by the coalition government with the support of Labor, which went to this year’s election pledging to keep them.
However, Mr Broadbent said further tax cuts were not needed.
“I would be arguing the tax cuts we legislated in different circumstances should be thrown out. When things change, we should change,” he told ABC News on Monday.
“The government should bite the bullet and drop those tax cuts now and send a real message to the Australian people.”
The tax cuts are estimated to be a $243 billion hit to the budget bottom line over 10 years.
Mr Albanese said the government had inherited the legislation and did not intend to scrap it.
“Parliament made a decision to legislate those tax cuts, and we made a decision that we would stand by that legislation rather than relitigate it, and we haven’t changed our opinion,” he said in a speech to the National Press Club on Monday.
Mr Broadbent said the money that would be lost from the budget due to the tax cuts would be better spent in other areas.
“We could be spending that money on social housing, defence, it goes on and on,” he said.
“We’re just sending the wrong message to the Australian people at this time that tax cuts for the wealthier cohort of our community are acceptance.”
Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said the government needed to provide more certainty surrounding the future of the tax cuts.
“Labor’s support for lower taxes has always been lukewarm at best. Their support for the stage three three tax cuts was unenthusiastic from the get-go,” he said.
“Australians have a right to know whether this will be another election promise on the chopping block.”
The Greens have called for the tax cuts to be scrapped, with the money redirected to cost of living relief, free child care, getting dental into Medicare and building affordable homes.