Just how ‘competitive’ is Australia on corporate tax? The government has been offered an unexpected chance to lead

The international tide has turned against company tax reductions. Will Scott Morrison leave Australia an island of ideological obsession?

Janet Yellen and Scott MorrisonJanet Yellen and Scott Morrison

Janet Yellen and Scott Morrison (Images: AP, AAP)

For most of its time in government since 2013, the Coalition has been keen to cut company taxes. Malcolm Turnbull and his then-treasurer Scott Morrison devoted great effort to trying to secure passage of tax cuts for large corporations that would cost the best part of $100 billion in lost revenue.

A core part of their argument was that Australia was being left behind by other countries lowering their corporate tax rates, rendering us “uncompetitive”. Cutting company taxes would be an economic panacea, we were told. It would boost investment, productivity and employment and even wages growth with grateful corporations passing on big pay rises to workers in a splendid demonstration of trickle-down economics.

Donald Trump’s company tax cuts in the US reinforced the argument from the Coalition, business groups, and their media cheerleaders here that we urgently needed to make our corporate tax system more “competitive”.

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