Labor and GetUp! will target Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s marginal Queensland seat at the next federal election as they prepare to ramp up a campaign against the government’s company tax cuts.
In a bid to wedge the government over its enterprise tax plan, Labor would campaign “right around the country” against big-business tax cuts — especially in the key state of Queensland and Mr Dutton’s seat of Dickson, opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen told The Australian.
“Federal Labor believes that the priorities for government should be better funding for schools, hospitals and paying down debt, not a tax cut for big banks and big business,” Mr Bowen said.
Labor will continue the campaign for these priorities and against Malcolm Turnbull’s big-business tax cuts.”
GetUp! national director Paul Oosting also pledged his organisation would not stop campaigning against “multi-billion-dollar tax handouts until they’re scrapped” and warned of a crusade to “ditch Dutton”.
The left-wing lobby group claimed to have spent almost $700,000 on advertising across 12 seats at the 2016 election after targeting marginal electorates and MPs who voted for former prime minister Tony Abbott in the 2015 leadership spill.
“GetUp! members are raring to run a big and bold grassroots campaign to ‘ditch Dutton’ because he’s the chief architect of a multitude of policies that corrode our democracy and run against the values of our members,” Mr Oosting said.
Mr Dutton, who holds Dickon on a margin of 1.6 per cent, acknowledged Bill Shorten was able to “exploit” the government’s company tax cuts policy at the Longman by-election on the weekend.
The LNP’s primary vote plummeted to less than 30 per cent and Labor gained a swing towards it of 3.56 per cent, panicking some Coalition MPs who want the government to abandon the unlegislated company tax cuts for businesses with an annual turnover above $50 million.
Mr Dutton labelled GetUp! a “mouthpiece for the Greens” and urged Australians to question where the organisation received its resources. “They lie and deceive and if voters get a call from them they should ask about the millions GetUp! receives from the CFMEU and other discredited, radical unions,” he said.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann hit out at the “anti-business, politics-of-envy, high-taxing agenda” he said was being run by Labor, the Greens and GetUp!, and declared the opposition’s high taxes on business would harm working families for “years to come”.
Asked whether the campaign against company tax cuts would harm his colleagues’ chances of getting re-elected, Senator Cormann noted Labor secured swings in Longman and Braddon — where the swing was 0.12 per cent — below the historical average.
“To put that into perspective, in the Darling Range by-election in WA (on June 23) the state opposition secured a 9.4 per cent swing against the relatively new state Labor government to win the seat from Labor,” he said.