'Um, No': Mathias Cormann's Strenuous Denial Of Increased Taxes Pretty Much Sums The Budget Up

14/04/2016 8:51 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Mathias Cormann, Australia's finance minister, poses for a photograph following a Bloomberg Television interview at the World Economic Forum (WEF)in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 20 - 23. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Thursday was a pretty big day -- one of many to come -- for the Coalition in the lead up to the budget.

Not only was Barnaby Joyce Acting PM, which you can read all about here, but a credit rating service warned the Government could lose its AAA credit rating if Treasurer Scott Morrison doesn't raise taxes and cut spending on May 3. Morrison then said "of course" there will be revenue measures in the budget after previously arguing the nation has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

So Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was going to have a tough time denying tax increases on Thursday night. And when asked on The 7:30 Report whether the Federal Government's budget will indeed increase taxes, the Finance Minister said this:

"Um.. no."

Cormann then went on to say the May 3 budget will aim to create more jobs and strengthen growth and that it is in fact Labor who want to raise taxes.

"We want to raise revenue in a way that is better, without increasing the overall tax burden on the economy," the Finance Minister said.

Cormann kept referring to the "overall tax burden", which basically means some taxes may be increased, some reduced, but taxing around the nation will collectively remain the same.

So did anyone buy it?

And after Sabra Lane -- who is stepping in for Leigh Sales for the week -- questioned Cormann about the tobacco excise, which Fairfax revealed on Thursday night, Cormann's dodging and weaving was even less agile.

"Well, I'm obviously not going to comment on measures that may or may not be in the budget on May 3. The budget will be delivered on May 3. There's always a lot of speculation in the lead-up to any budget. Let's just wait and see what will be in the budget on May 3."

Lane then questioned whether the Coalition had a clear budget plan, saying: "You floated the idea of a GST change. That's been ditched. You've raised the idea of sharing income tax collection with the states. That's been ditched. You've hinted at negative gearing changes. That was ditched when Labor announced its policy. You've also explored streamlining tax returns. That's been ditched."

Cormann said the budget will focus on growing and diversifying the economy before concluding with the most transparent answer of the evening.

"Of course we have a clear plan. Our clear plan is reflected in the Budget."

Stay tuned for May 3.

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