The Abbott government is banking on “Tony’s tradies” to fire up the economy and give it a smoother post-budget ride than a year ago.
Labor says the budget is all about the government positioning itself for an early election. “
They haven’t done it for life in the 2020s,” Opposition Leader leader Bill Shorten told Sky News on Wednesday.
“They’ve done this budget to save Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey’s job, they haven’t done it to look at jobs of other Australians.”
Treasurer Joe Hockey insists an early election never featured in the government’s pre-budget calculations, while Prime Minister Tony Abbott says an election will be held “mid-next year”.
“We want to fire up Australian business,” Mr Hockey told the Nine Network.
“We want to take advantage of the massive growth opportunities that are going to come our way with the growth in Asia over the next few years.”
Mr Abbott said small business was the engine room of the economy and that’s why it was the big winner in the budget, joking on Sky News that they may be called “Tony’s tradies”.
“In the end, this budget is about jobs, growth and opportunity, that’s why we have focused our tax cuts on small business.”
Last year the government cut the carbon and mining taxes and this year it was the tax rate for small business that was being cut by 1.5 per cent, Mr Abbott said.
Small businesses will also be able to immediately write-off assets worth up to $20,000.
In an interview Sky New journalist David Speers asked the Prime Minister about about the small business package, which he said “seems to be particularly targeted at tradies.”
“We had Howard’s battlers. Are these going to be Abbott’s tradies?” he asked.
The Prime Minister jokingly responded with a better term – “Tony’s tradies”.
“I want to encourage them to have a go; I think it’s in our DNA to want to have a go,” Mr Abbott said.
“We all love giving people a fair go, it’s only because most of us have a go that all of us can get the fair go that every Australian deserves.”
Whether or not “Tony’s Tradies” will fire up the economy, it has at least fired up reactions on Twitter.
A budget put down by a gov out of ideas on how to stimulate the economy #TonysTradies #auspol #budget2015
— Comrade Jatan (@nickjatan) May 13, 2015Which daughter needs a reno Tony? #tonystradies #qt #auspol
— Shannon Martin (@auspawned) May 13, 2015Who actually coined the term #TonysTradies and Did Tony Abbott say it himself?
— Petra Campbell (@PetraAu) May 13, 2015Tony’s Tradies get around Mosman in Mercedes-Benz utes. #TonysTradies pic.twitter广西桑拿,/hAj8wLbBLd
— Andrew Rollason (@rollo75) May 13, 2015to bad #tonystradies are a dying breed since funding for training is disappearing. @TonyAbbottMHR #auspol
— Whosawhatnow (@Pounce64) May 13, 2015
The government has dismissed concerns small business will rort the new tax breaks.
“People aren’t going to spend money on their business if it’s not going to make them a dollar,” Mr Hockey told ABC radio when asked if he was worried people would claim plasma TVs and office couches.
Mr Abbott warned there would be “a lot of angry small business people” if the opposition and crossbenchers blocked the small business package in the Senate.
“Surely every member of this parliament wants to create jobs, every member of this parliament wants to give small business a fair go so that they can have a go for the benefit of everyone,” he told the Seven Network.