Bill shortens budget reply speech slams malcoms millionaires and pledges 71 billion worth of saving

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BILL Shorten pledged to deny big business and the wealthy some $65 billion in tax cuts offered in the Government’s “millionaires Budget”.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told Parliament Labor would limit income tax cuts to those earning less than $180,000 a year, and restrict company tax cuts to small businesses with a turnover under $2 million a year.

Vocational education loans would be capped at $8000 a student, to save $6 billion.

That would be a total saving of $71 billion over 10 years, announced after a day in which both sides argued over the accuracy of their opponents decade-long spending forecasts.

The Labor responses to Tuesday nights economic statement made clear the Coalition would be campaigning on concessions to employers to boost the economy, and Labor would concentrate on protecting families and employees.

The Coalition will concentrate on enhancing the capacity of companies to hire workers; Labor will focus on giving workers the skills needed to increase demand for their services.

With an eye to family matters, Mr Shorten said Labor would legislate to keep Medicare in public hands within 100 days of election to Government.

And a Labor government would fully fund commitments to schools, universities, vocational education and creating jobs through infrastructure and renewable energy projects.

With polling day 58 days away, Mr Shorten said: We might be the underdogs in this election, but we have never sought to be a small target.

We are offering a social and economic program for betterment of this nation.

The markers we set for the future of Australia: jobs, education, Medicare, climate change, affordable housing and fair taxation, equality for women, our belief in young Australians.

By contrast, this Budget punishes people who cant afford it and rewards those who dont need it.

The Shorten speech underlined a sharper demarcation between the major parties in the election Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to call on Sunday with accusations of class warfare certain to follow.

From Tonys Tradies to Malcolms Millionaires this is a Budget for big business over battlers, Mr Shorten said in his official reply to Parliament.

And he challenged the Governments reliability on economic management, saying that over the past three years the deficit had tripled, $100 billion had been added to the national debt, and more tax had been collected than at any time since John Howards last year in office, 2007.

Mr Shorten said this was accompanied by falling incomes, flat wages and declining living standards.

The Opposition Leader maintained his claim the government wants to dismantle Medicare.

Medicare drives economic growth and productivity, keeping us active, healthy and productive at work, he said.

It saves employers the costs, red-tape and hassle of organising health insurance for their workforce. It saves the nation money the most efficient payment system, for treatment at the most important time.

And it saves families money keeping down the cost of living.

Labor supported the modest income tax cuts to prevent those earning $80,000 a year slipping into a higher tax bracket. But would block the benefit spreading to higher income earners.

We will support the governments modest measures on bracket creep, said Mr Shorten.

However, in the face of continuing deficits, now is not the time to give the richest three per cent of Australians another tax cut on top of this.

Now is not the time to reduce the marginal rate for individuals who earn greater than $180,000. According to the independent Parliamentary Budget Office this decision is estimated to improve the Budget by $16 billion over the decade.

Labor also would quarantine a reduction in company tax to 25 per cent to small business, rejecting a Coalition plan to have it phased in for all businesses.

Labor will support a tax cut for small businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million dollars per year. Because thats what a small business is. We will deliver tax relief for the small businesses, said the Opposition Leader.

Coles is not a small business. The Commonwealth Bank is not a small business.

And in a pointed reference to Malcolm Turnbulls former career he said: Goldman Sachs is not a small business.

In further proposed savings: $1.4 billion would come from repealing the Nationals new Baby Bonus; and $1 billion by scrapping Direct Action, the Coalitions scheme to pay companies for lower pollution emissions.

We will not spend $160 million of taxpayer money on a divisive plebiscite dredging up all kinds of harmful prejudice, said Mr Shorten.

Instead, the Parliament of Australia will do its job and within our first 100 days of government vote to make marriage equality a reality.

He confirmed Labors plan to tightly restrict access to negatives gear from July next year, for a saving calculated at $32 billion over 10 years.

Appearing on The 7:30 Report, Bill Shorten slammed the oppositions budget saying 'it's rushed'. Courtesy: ABC