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RIP Barnaby's backpacker tax

Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, announces the Greens position on the Government’s backpacker tax Bill.

Senator Whish-Wilson said “The Greens want backpackers to be taxed at the same rate as residents. However, we will support the cross-bench amendment to reduce the government’s 19% rate to 10.5%. With the Greens and Labor support of this amendment, the Bill will likely return to the House at a lower rate and the Government has said they will kill it.

“The Greens have led on this issue. We were the first party to oppose the backpacker tax. We were the only one to take a costed policy to the election. We were the ones who discovered legislation was required and that the automatic default is not 32.5%.

“We will move an amendment that is true to our original position so that backpackers are taxed as residents. We will do this by moving an amendment to the Income Tax Rate Act(s) to, in effect, repeal the Income Tax (Rates) Bill 1982.

“If this amendment does not succeed, we will support the crossbench amendment of the 10.5% rate. Then, if the Government chooses stupidity over sense by not supporting the amended Bill, the Bill will be dead and the Government will be the ones who killed it.

“The Government did nothing to win our support. They did not chase our vote. They did not offer to meet. This failure is all on their heads. They created the mess. They did nothing to fix it.

“Barnaby Joyce is talking bulldust that a default rate of 32.5% will start on January 1, 2017. The only thing due to come in on January 1 was the Government’s law if their legislation passed both houses of Parliament. If the legislation fails to pass then the status quo remains unchanged, that is some backpackers are treated as residents, and some are not.

“Tasmanian farmers, at an individual level, have told me they want this Bill dead. They will never trust the government again. Barnaby Joyce did not even visit Tasmania during this debate. He has done nothing to fix the mess his Government created,” he concluded.

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