Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers are refusing to put a precise figure on the economic effect of the business tax cuts passed by the parliament last week.
Instead, they continue to pressure Labor to say whether the reductions would stay in place if they won government.
“The Labor Party seems to think that you can keep on increasing taxes and people will keep on investing and people will keep on employing,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
“They are kidding themselves. They’re not dreaming, they’re having a nightmare. That is a Labor economic nightmare for everybody else.”
The government’s 10-year plan to reduce the company tax rate to 25 per cent was repeatedly spruiked as delivering a one per cent dividend to economic growth, but it remains unclear what impact the agreed cuts for firms with a turnover of up to $50 million will have on their own.
“It will add substantial economic growth. It’s a real stimulus,” was as close Mr Turnbull would go as an answer.
Treasurer Scott Morrison said the government doesn’t need to be convinced about the need to give small and medium-sized businesses a tax cut.
“The Labor Party needs to be convinced about that,” he told the same media conference at a small Canberra business.
He said modelling had been done on the whole 10-year package – a program the government will continue to pursue.
“If you go down the pub and you talk to small business people they are not talking about econometric models,” Mr Morrison said.
But shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Australians have every right to demand an answer to this simple question.
“Instead of providing answers to Australian taxpayers who are footing the bill for this $24 billion in company tax cuts, the prime minister is hell bent on ensuring Australia’s lowest paid get a cut in penalty rates at a time when wages growth is at record lows,” he said in a statement.
Mr Bowen later told reporters Labor wants to see how the coalition is going to pay for these business tax cuts before making a decision on whether to retain them in government.
“Scott Morrison can hold as many frothing-at-the-mouth press conferences hyperventilating as he likes saying the Labor Party must do this and must do that,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“The Labor Party doesn’t have to do anything Mr Morrison says. The Labor Party will take its good time, consider the options.”