Shorten's budget reply targets top earners

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Based on Parliamentary Budget Office modelling commissioned by Labor at last year's election, retaining the 2 per cent temporary budget fix levy on those earning over $180,000 would only raise $1.55 billion in 2019-2020, compared to $3.55 billion raised from the proposed higher Medicare levy in the same year.

In an extensive attack on key budget measures, Shorten said Labor will oppose the government's cuts to universities, its proposed increase in student fees, and the change in the repayment threshold that "hits women, Indigenous Australians and low-income earnest the hardest".

"This is the fair and responsible way forward", he said during a budget reply speech on Thursday night.

For a worker earning $50,000 annually, it'll be an extra $250 per year.

Under the Labor plan, top tax earners (earning more than $180,000) would have a tax rate of 49.5%, making permanent the deficit levy, which was due to expire this year, the Australian Financial Review reports.

The Labor leader claimed one of the biggest deductions they claimed was money paid to their accountants, which averaged $1 million.

He will also tonight outline Labor's position on the Turnbull Government's housing package, which doesn't touch negative gearing or capital gains tax but includes measures for first home buyers, downsizers and renters.

Labor wants to limit the increase to the top two tax brackets, so it only applies to people earning more than $87,000.

Treasurer Scott Morrison's second budget signalled the end to the two per cent budget deficit levy, which was temporarily put in place in 2014 to help balance the books.


The opposition leader was at pains to counter the widespread observation in commentary that this was "a Labor budget".

But it was anxious that "the weakness of this government will turn $6 billion tax on the banks into a $6 billion charge on every Australian with a bank account or a mortgage".

Shorten announced that a Labor government would cap at $3,000 the amount people could deduct for the management of their tax affairs.

The federal opposition leader has also committed to keeping the coalition's budget fix levy on high-income earners, and says his party will back a $6.2 billion tax on the big banks.

The crackdown would raise $1.8 billion over a decade and would affect less than 1 per cent of taxpayers.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann called on Shorten to submit his speech to the Parliamentary Budget Office for costing.

But the analysis from Deloitte shows that while millionaire taxpayers - those earning more than $1 million a year - comprise just 0.4 per cent of all Australian taxpayers, those taxpayers would contribute 7 per cent of the extra Medicare levy.

Shorten said Labor would crack down tax evaders hiding funds in offshore accounts.

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