According to Australian Democrats Deputy Leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett, "The Prime Ministers speech to the Menzies Research Centre was full of inconsistencies and half truths.

"The Governments so-called personal tax cuts in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005 did little more than account for bracket creep. The Government continues to play politics with Australians by refusing to index tax thresholds with inflation.

"When talking about the Family Tax Benefit system and the need to recognise diverse families, the Prime Minister failed to mention the many sole parents who he punished late last year by forcing them into work with little child support and while cutting their weekly income.

"For the Prime Minister to argue that capping FTB-B for the wealthy somehow hurts women is nonsense. To provide genuine choice for women, the Prime Minister should provide Government-funded paid maternity leave, give women the right to request part-time work, and invest more in childcare.

"The Government has not met legitimate spending responsibilities. Australia has the third lowest government expenditure as a proportion of GDP in the OECD. Our public spending on education is also the seventh lowest among the OECD’s 25 wealthiest countries.

"While our economy appears healthy now, our current account deficit, our level of greenhouse gas emissions and our ageing population are warning signs that our current prosperity has no guarantee into the future.

"The Government must act now to head off pending crises and address unmet needs in child development, education and training, health, renewable energy and energy efficiency, water, research and development, and infrastructure.

"Structural tax reform is essential to make the system simpler, fairer and transparent. There would be less need for tax returns if people paid less tax in exchange for closing loopholes and unnecessary deductions.

"Structural tax reform and investment in services, the economy and the environment are far better ways to help all families – indeed all Australians than political point scoring dressed up as tax relief, concluded Senator Bartlett.

Media contact Senator Bartlett 0418 743 789

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