PM Tony Abbott Lists Repealing Carbon Tax & Stopping Boats as Election Promises, But Excludes Not Raising Taxes; Confirms Deficit Tax for Those Earning More Than $180,000

By @ibtimesau on
Tony Abbott
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) talks to a guest during a lunch meeting in Shanghai April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

In a bid to appease Coalition members, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott met on Monday with 200 Coalition staff and reminded them that he intends to keep his campaign promises. But he mentioned only repealing the carbon tax, fixing the budget, stopping the boats and building the roads of the 21st century.

ABC quoted Mr Abbott as saying, "That was our solemn commitment, and the budget will show we are keeping those commitments."

He apparently forgot or probably deliberately omitted not raising taxes, which has angered Australian voters and even company directors.

In a sense, Mr Abbott was not lying because he preferred to call the deficit tax a debt levy. He confirmed on Tuesday that the levy, to be included in the budget, would be collected on Australians earning over $180,000 a year.

"I don't want people to say "Oh those blokes in Canberra are making me suffer while they get off scot free,'" he told 2GB Radio. With his pay of more than $500,000, the PM's debt levy would be $6,500.

He added, "What I don't want is for a pensioner to be able to look me in the eye and say "I'm bearing pain and you're not' because it's got to be fair.'"

The PM also met on Monday afternoon the federal cabinet to provide his frontbench team a bigger picture of the federal budget that would be announced on Tuesday. There are speculations that the budget would include major cuts to government services, the imposition of the much-hated deficit tax and axing of public service jobs.

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Report also indicated there would be increases to fuel excise in the first Coalition budget as well as the scrapping or merging of over 70 government agencies.

The Australian reported that four agencies, including the Royal Australian Mint and Defence Housing Australia would be sold to raise billions of dollars to erase the anticipated $30-billion budget deficit.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency and National Water Commission are reportedly being abolished, which would surely be heavily criticised by green groups. Cultural agencies such as the National Gallery and National Library would combine their back-office administration which would likely lead to job cuts.

Ahead of the budget announcement, the Remuneration Tribunal agreed with Mr Abbott's request to freeze the salaries of politicians and postpone yearly adjustment to pay of public service secretaries and statutory office holders.

In a statement, the Tribunal said, "The Government considers that parliamentarians and Commonwealth office holders should lead by example in these matters. The Government's submission was that the Tribunal should not approve any increases in remuneration for any offices within the Tribunal's jurisdiction for at least one year.

The order takes effect July 1, 2014, which also applies to principal executive offices. In effect, the annual review decision defers pay hikes of up to $40,000 for top public officials.

Backbench MPs were supposed to get between $3,900 and $5,000 higher pay, while Mr Abbott was slated to receive a salary increase between $10,000 and $12,000.

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