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'Getting a go' isn't the same as getting a fair go

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Australia is having a huge national debate about taxes and tax reform that's mostly missing the point. There's too much focus on costings and not enough analysis of who is getting the biggest slice of pie - here's a hint: it's not those struggling to make ends meet.

If Australians are going to make an informed choice, the tax debate must examine not only the costs of the competing policies, but also ask who benefits the most? "If you have a go, you get a go" has been the Prime Minister's constant refrain, but "getting a go" isn't the same as "getting a fair go".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Torquay last week. Photo: Dominic Lorrimer

Now, if you believe in trickle-down economics, giving the biggest benefit to the wealthiest Australians is a perfectly reasonable approach. And whether we look at income tax cuts, franking credits or negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount - the same group of people have been "getting a go" and the lion's share of the benefit: the wealthiest Australians.

The tax cuts aimed at low and middle income earners are basically bipartisan. It is tax cuts for wealthy people where the Coalition and Labor really disagree and where voters face a real choice. The second stage of the Coalition's income tax cuts are a nightmare for inequality, which overwhelmingly benefit high income earners and make Australia's income tax system less progressive and will worsen inequality.

The Australia Institute has estimated that the very highest income earners (those earning over $180,000) will receive at least $77 billion from the Coalition's income tax cuts package. Ministers Mathias Cormann and Simon Birmingham both disputed the $77 billion figure, but neither was able to provide a more........

© Canberra Times