The Australian Progressives believe that the economy should work for all Australians, not just those who can afford control of capital. Society is best served by an economy that is growing, and the economy performs best when all share in the benefits of that growth.
Income taxation should not be treated as a punishment, rather it should be treated as an incentivised public investment scheme by taxpaying shareholders into Australia’s social capital fund: Our nation.
Our policy of revision and elevation of the income tax thresholds is designed to ensure that low income and middle-class Australians would improve their take home weekly earnings. Moreover, the extension of the flat rate GST and subsequent increase to the cost of living expenses would be readily absorbed into the upgraded income tax thresholds. We would also review those thresholds on a bi annual basis to offset the impact of bracket creep and provide an additional payment to pensioners during the transitioning period (expected to be at least 12 months).
We acknowledge the principle that those who can afford to pay more tax should pay that tax. But we also recognise the efforts of thousands of Australian wage and salary earners - some of whom earn considerably larger incomes than most middle and working-class Australians- should still be entitled to keep at least 50% of their taxable income (excluding the Medicare levy). Many have invested years of their own personal and professional development to reach the higher scale of wage and salary income and should not be punished for their efforts. To do so, in our view, is not progressive.
GST is one of the pillars of Australia public revenue generation. We hold that the more you consume then the more you can contribute – particularly with reference to high income earners with higher levels of disposable income (low income earners will benefit from the revised taxation thresholds and certain exemptions). Our proposal to extend the 10% GST should capture most of the taxation shortfalls occurring because of the abolition of certain other state based and fuel levy taxes (which have direct cost of living impact on lower wage earners anyway). Maintaining exemptions on basic goods is expected to have the desired progressive effect for low income household, so we would exempt pharmaceuticals, hygiene products, fresh food, water and energy products (but not petroleum). A guarantee of 80% return of the GST revenue back to the states and territories should also allay concerns about their own revenue shortfalls.
Moreover, our policy to introduce a digital FTT at 0.1% for transactions over $1m can be the revenue top up for the states and territories if required. Multinationals and mega corporations would be unable to avoid this tax as it’s a digitally imposed tax designed to overcome some of the base erosion profit shifting revenue shortfalls experienced by dozens of countries trying to engage with multinationals and ensure they pay their fair share of tax.
Capital gains tax is also a contentious area in taxation policy. We hold that there should no longer be an across the board CGT exemption for everything and everyone. Rather we hold that a target approached (and likely means tested for retirees and low incomes earners) to CGT discounts would help refocus investment choices made by individuals and corporations. We especially consider that reorienting tax policy to help support our Regional Growth policies will go a very long way to sustain investment in regional Australia for many years to come.
Family Trusts have been used for years to reduce any tax liability and obligation for a select few. We would restructure the Family Trust system over a period of three years. We would also consider options to phase out or replace the Family Trust system.
Black economy - we also support all recommendations from the Black Economy Taskforce October 2017 to eliminate the black economy and reduce tax evasion.
To achieve our policy objectives, we would boost the resources and expertise of the Australian Tax Office and several other Federal financial oversight agencies.
- Increase super contributions to 12%
- Reform contribution taxation so individuals receive a 15% tax discount on their marginal income tax rate
- Reintroduce the low earner supplement.
- Transition housing out of speculative investment sector.
- Phase out negative gearing.
- Phase in a cap on deductions for current arrangements.
- Crack down on foreign investors.
- Eliminate Capital Gains Tax Exemptions.
- Apply Anti money laundering measures to property.
Social Security in Australia is a fundamental responsibility of government. The Australian Progressives support the implementation of a comprehensive support system for low income and disadvantaged Australians. To this end we would implement the following to help address economic inequality:
- The re-establishment of national unemployment support services with increased access to job seeker services, including subsidised training and development and regional employment schemes.
- The empowerment of people to actively contribute to their communities either as paid employees or as volunteers through local government administered, Commonwealth/State funded programs and services.
- Improved access to selected support services such as mental and general health and substance addiction care.
- Review indexation rates to ensure the accurate cost of living is captured and reflected in payment structures.
- Immediate increase of payments to all single social security recipients of $100 per week and $125 for married social security recipients until the indexation review is completed.
- Removal of the inherent disincentives to work in the current payment structures and implement progressive means testing to prevent income loss as wages increase and negate excess tax rates.
- Review asset shifting to clamp down on the practice of wealth transfer.
- Fund low cost housing, shared accommodation and alternative housing options for low income earners and homeless people.
- Capped higher education contribution rates for all tertiary students.
- Increased superannuation pre-tax contribution limits up to $50,000 for men and women aged more than 50 years with low superannuation balances of less than $100,000.
- Increase to carers allowance of an additional $50 per fortnight.
- Reduce the working week to 32 hours and increase flexibility to permit workers to have a four day working week, without financial loss.
- Cap CEO remuneration at 100 times lowest paid employee, with appropriate restrictions to prevent low-paid job outsourcing.
Entry level and Graduate Employment incentives
- 0.25 to 0.75% company tax break for businesses that employ 10% entry level and graduates as proportion of staff.
Foreign trade agreements
- Oppose trade agreements that take away from the nation's sovereign powers and are heavily weighted to the interests of multinational corporations at the expense of local businesses and jobs. Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.