2 May 2014

Aust eyes debt tax, pensions

11:20 pm on 2 May 2014

The Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey says that a proposed debt tax is a "call to arms for the nation" to help repair the budget deficit on that side of the Tasman.

Australian treasurer, Joe Hockey.

Australian treasurer, Joe Hockey. Photo: AAP

Mr Hockey has again refused to rule out the prospect of the Federal Government raising income tax through a deficit levy on those earning higher incomes.

The Treasurer also confirmed that the Coalition Government wants to raise the pension entitlement age to 70, and for the measures to come into force in 2035.

Mr Hockey said that he expects the legislation to pass with bipartisan support.

The Government is under attack from within by Coalition MPs and senators who say raising taxes goes against the Coalition's pre-election promises and against Liberal Party philosophy.

The Treasurer has cautioned against assuming any debt levy will kick in for people on incomes as low as $A80,000 per year.

Mr Hockey says the Coalition will take a "tax agenda" to the next election in 2016, but needs to raise more revenue now.

"This is a call to arms for the nation," he said.

"We need everyone to contribute to the heavy lifting in the short term. But the long-term benefits will flow to the entire economy and the entire community," the Treasurer said.

"I will do what is right for the nation. This deficit we've inherited is being borne by the whole country; we're going to all have to make a contribution.

"The more people who contribute to helping to fix the problem, the less each individual has to contribute.

"On the revenue side, we are going to have to have a new agenda in taxation. And the best way to lay out that agenda is to ensure that those that have a capacity to, pay their fair share."

Labor, the Palmer United Party and the Greens are all opposed to the new tax and say they will oppose it in the upper chamber, where the Government does not have a majority.

But Mr Hockey said the "age of entitlement" was over for everyone, including politicians, and said the gold pass, which gives some retired MPs free travel, could be in the Government's sights.