Bulked-up tax returns will start flowing as soon as next week after the Coalition’s much touted $158 billion income tax plan passed Parliament.
Crossbenchers Jacqui Lambie and Centre Alliance offered the final crucial votes the Federal Government needed to pass the legislation, which retrospectively offers tax cuts for the last financial year.
Labor, having failed to amend the tax plan, ultimately supported the passage of the plan in the Senate, while the Greens voted against it.
The legislation passed 56 to 9, with One Nation abstaining and crossbencher Cory Bernardi absent.
The result prompted claps from Coalition senators and heckles of “shame” from the Greens.
The change means more than 10 million Australians will receive a tax cut up to $1,080.
The legislation will head to the Governor-General for royal assent, paving the way for the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to begin applying it to tax returns for the last financial year.
Senator Lambie had held out offering her support until early this morning.
She wanted more money for social housing in Tasmania and said she was willing to support the tax cuts “in good faith”, under the expectation the Government would meet her demands in the next six weeks.
“I’m not saying everything about this bill is perfect and I’m not saying that it’s going to fix every problem people are experiencing,” Senator Lambie said.
“I’m just saying that if you ask me to choose between helping someone and helping nobody then I know what I’m going to choose every single time, just as sure as day follows night.”
Labor fails to amend the Coalition’s plans
Labor has long argued it wanted to amend the bill, to bring forward the second stage and delay the third stage, which includes longer-term structural changes, for future consideration.
The Opposition’s leader in the Senate, Penny Wong, led the charge to amend the legislation, but Labor ultimately failed when it was unable to convince enough crossbenchers to support its measures.
Labor ultimately voted for the full package the Coalition had put forward.
“Because every Australian, apparently apart from some members of the Government, knows that the economy’s struggling and that the economy does need stimulus,” Labor leader Anthony Albanese said.