Greens threaten to amend budget unless government dumps top-end tax cuts

Greens leader Adam Bandt is preparing to fight the government over already-legislated tax cuts but has stopped short of threatening the passage of supply bills if Labor doesn’t dump them in its October budget.

Bandt will use a speech to the Queensland Press Club on Friday to outline how he hopes to push the government to act on equality and climate change, calling for it to drop the cuts that deliver major tax relief to people on higher incomes and stop gas companies claiming tax credits.

Greens leader Adam Bandt (front) with some of the minor party’s newly elected members.Credit:Jamila Toderas

If the government doesn’t do that, the Greens “will seek to amend the first budget”, he will say according to speech excerpts.

“The Greens will not support a Labor budget based on cuts that hurt everyday people while continuing the handouts to billionaires,” Bandt will say.

“This is where Labor should find savings. But we are worried that Labor won’t have the guts to do what’s necessary.”

The party will hold the balance of power in the Senate, where it now has 12 seats. Labor will need its support plus that of one other crossbencher to pass legislation opposed by the Coalition.

Bandt said the party wanted to be constructive but would not be a rubber stamp.

However, he stopped short of threatening to block supply if the government did not make the changes.

Instead, the Greens have flagged they may seek changes to other legislation enacting parts of the budget outside the appropriations bills that ensure money continues flowing for government functions.

Under the stage-three tax cuts, which were legislated in 2018 by then-treasurer Scott Morrison, the 37 per cent tax bracket will be abolished, the top 45 per cent bracket will start from $200,000 and the 32.5 per cent rate will be cut to 30 per cent for all incomes between $45,000 and $200,000.

The cuts are on track to cost the budget $37 billion a year by the early 2030s, according to costings by the Parliamentary Budget Office that the Greens released during the election.

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