Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has defended Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave plan, arguing the 1.7 percent levy on businesses would be a “huge windfall for big business”.
Joe Hockey was forced to enter the debate after continued attacks by free market think tanks and unions alike. As well as attacks coming from within his own party dissenting over the decision not to consult the party room.
The Australian reports Mr Hockey believed Mr Abbott’s plan to tax businesses earning over $5 million to pay for the scheme would be a “huge windfall for big business in particular because it ensures that those people who may have left the workforce after having a baby now have the opportunity to stay in the workforce and in particular, to receive superannuation during maternity leave”.
“There’s been a lot of rhetoric, rhetorical commentary surrounding this proposal. It is a proposal that delivers for the economy over the long term. Importantly it is now an incentive for women who have had significant education, who are significant contributors to the economy, to come back into the workforce,” he said.
Mr Hockey then went on to attack big business for complaining about a shortage of workers.
“Big business will be a major beneficiary because they are the ones that are first to complain about a shortage of workers. Big business is the first to complain about capacity problems. This actually delivers for big and small business because it is a real incentive for women to come back into the workforce. It’s a real incentive for people to continue to contribute to the economy.”
Mr Hockey then deflected criticism for imposing a ‘massive new tax’ if the coalition was to win the next election, citing a belief that over time they would deliver personal income tax cuts followed by cuts to company taxes due to a stronger economy.
“Let me just emphasise this – when the government pays off its debt, when the government is running surpluses, we will deliver personal income tax cuts with those surpluses and after that we will look to deliver a reduction in company tax that ensures that those companies are not worse off over the longer term.