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'Battlers': Thorpe fires up over tax cuts

Eleanor Campbell -

Lidia Thorpe has blasted upcoming stage-three tax cuts arguing that the federal government shouldn't be "giving money to already rich people" in a cost-of-living crisis.

The Independent Senator doled out criticisms on the tax changes just days after the Prime Minister aired his strongest commitment to the contentious policy to date.

She said the government should instead shift its focus towards addressing unaffordable housing and homelessness.

"The battlers out there are doing it so hard. The cost of living is out of control, and we don't need to be giving politicians $9000 a year in tax cuts when people are struggling to put food on the table," Senator Thorpe told Today.

"I thought Labor was better than that. I thought Labor was about looking after the battlers and the working class."

Despite the cuts starting at people earning $45,000, Senator Thorpe argued the cuts should be directed to "struggling mums and dad".

The prime minister has said he plans to focus on cost-of-living in 2024. Picture: Luis Enrique Ascui/NCA NewsWire.

The prime minister has said he plans to focus on cost-of-living in 2024. (Image: Luis Enrique Ascui/NCA NewsWire)

Anthony Albanese broke months of speculation on Wednesday after he confirmed the tax bracket increase will "definitely go ahead" starting July 1.

"We have no change to our plans. We, of course, have said that tax relief is really important,'' the Prime Minister told Triple M Radio.

The stage three tax cuts, which were legislated under the former Morrison government, will abolish the 37 per cent bracket that applies to income between $120,000 and $180,000.

The reforms will also apply a 30 per cent rate to all earnings between $45,000 and $200,000.

For high income earners on $200,000 a year, the tax cuts are worth $9000 annually or $756-a-month.

In response to claims that the cuts will only benefit high income earners, Mr Albanese said it was important to bear in mind that the tax cuts start at $45,000.

"$45,000 - if that's your annual income - you are certainly not wealthy," he said.

Senator Thorpe said the government was focusing on the wrong issue.

"Let's give the $9000 to the battlers. Let's make living affordable. Let's deal with the housing crisis, the homelessness crisis, the climate crisis. I mean, the list goes on," she said.

"We don't need to be giving money to already rich people."

The $313 billion-dollar package was originally proposed by in 2018 and was legislated by the Coalition with Labor's support following the 2019 election. Picture:Gaye Gerard/NCA NewsWire.

The $313 billion-dollar package was originally proposed by in 2018 and was legislated by the Coalition with Labor's support following the 2019 election. (Image: Gaye Gerard/NCA NewsWire)

Australian National Labor Party President Wayne Swan said while he agreed with some of Ms Thorpe's views he believed that many people benefiting from the changes were entitled to cost of living assistance.

"I don't think it's inflationary to give cost of living relief. These tax cuts were legislated three years ago and the government gave a commitment to go through with them during the election campaign," Mr Swan said.

"I agree with Lydia. I don't need it, and you certainly might not need $9,000, but there but there's a lot of people out there who deserve tax cuts, and they should get them."

Eleanor Campbell - NCA NewsWire

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