At least one Senate crossbencher believes the Turnbull government is about to take a company tax cut for big business off the table.
The government is proposing to cut the company tax rate to 25 per cent for all firms in the next 10 years, arguing the move will keep Australia internationally competitive and attract more foreign investment.
Treasurer Scott Morrison wants his legislation dealt with by parliament before the end of next week so companies with an annual turnover up to $10 million will get a tax cut mid-year.
Independent senator Derryn Hinch said it was his understanding the more expensive cuts were ‘off the table for now’.
‘I’m saying they’ll split the bill to get something through this time and they’ll maybe go back to it,’ he told Sky News.
‘If they dump the top end part of it and just go to the $10 million, yes I’ll support it, I’ll vote for it.’
Legislation is expected to clear the lower house on Thursday, but Mr Morrison won’t say whether the government is planning to dump the higher-end cuts.
‘I’ll just say what I’ve been saying, and that is we put these measures in the budget,’ he said.
Labor predicts the $50 billion plan won’t make it out of parliament.
It remains opposed to the cuts, other than for those firms with a turnover less than $2 million.
Opposition MP Julie Owens told parliament on Wednesday she was doubtful the government would get the cuts through the Senate.
‘In fact, I think the government will walk away from this signature piece – the one thing that, in their words, is going to create jobs and growth,’ she said.
‘The sooner they walk away from this the better.’
Opposition finance spokesman Jim Chalmers said if the government ditched the big-business tax cuts it would be the final humiliation for the treasurer.
‘He’s a guy who has been pretty routinely humiliated in this building and around the country,’ he told Sky News.
Labor had always supported a tax cut for small businesses of up to a $2 million turnover, Dr Chalmers said.
‘You have to draw the line somewhere. The government drew the line at the biggest multinationals and … $7 billion to the big four banks. That’s clearly inappropriate.’