Death taxes – you don’t say, Bill!

Media Releases

Date : 24 January 2019

Author: The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP




24 January 2019


Facing growing pressure over Labor’s disastrous housing and retirees taxes, Bill Shorten today sought to deflect attention by flippantly remarking that the next thing they say will be “that Labor wants to introduce death taxes.”

You don’t say, Mr Shorten!  Indeed, it was Shorten’s Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh who wrote an article titled “Bring Back the Inheritance Tax” in which he enthusiastically states:

“From a pure economic rationalist perspective … what is often not recognised is that inheritance taxes are also an efficient form of revenue raising” Andrew Leigh, New Matilda, 7 March 2006

Dr Leigh, who will be responsible for crafting tax policy were Labor to be elected, has written extensively on the subject, including a paper titled “Toying with Death and Taxes”.

But it is not only Labor frontbenchers who believe in the death tax. It’s also the co-conspirators from whom Mr Shorten and his shadow cabinet take their cues on policy, groups such as the ACTU and the Australia Institute.

“An inheritance tax on the wealthiest estates can restore fairness to our tax system and ensure the very wealth and big business pay tax” ACTU, Daily Telegraph, 21 July 2018

“All things being equal, surely people would prefer to be taxed when they were dead than when they’re alive” Ben Oquist, Executive Director, The Australia Institute, ABC News, 11 February 2016

In fact, the ACTU included the death tax on their list of demands to Shorten ahead of the federal election. We know Mr Shorten already caves to most if not all of their demands, so why not this one?

Given Labor is already proposing to tax Australians from the cradle to the grave, it is certainly not out of the question that Labor would consider taxing people beyond the grave. We know that Labor believes that whatever the question, the answer is always higher taxes.


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