Turnbull Under Pressure To Rethink Tax Cuts
Malcolm Turnbull is "humbly" going back to the drawing board after the Liberals lost two key by-elections to Labor, amid reports some ministers want him to dump contentious corporate tax cuts.
While Mr Turnbull is still committed to the tax cut plan for businesses with a turnover of more than $50 million, he on Sunday stopped short of recommitting to take the policy to the next election.
"We will look very seriously and thoughtfully and humbly at the way in which the voters have responded," the prime minister said.
However, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government was "absolutely committed" to the tax cuts when asked if the coalition would take them to the next election.
He said the government would bring the legislation to a vote in the Senate in the next sitting fortnight.
"It's very important that we protect all businesses across Australia from the impact of lower business tax rates in other parts of the world," Senator Cormann told ABC radio on Monday.
The marginal Queensland seat of Longman and the Tasmanian seat of Braddon remained in Labor hands, despite months of Liberal campaigning.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said the ALP framed the by-elections as a choice between "hospitals and the big banks", taking aim at the government's plan to cut taxes for Australia's biggest businesses.
"(If Mr Turnbull is) just going to keep offering us more of the same, well then I think he'll pay an electoral price for that," he said.
Mr Turnbull said Labor had told "outrageous lies" about health cuts in Longman and he said the coalition had to counter that approach.
The result in Longman also gives Labor hope it can win seats in Queensland at the next federal election.
Susan Lamb's Longman win, with an expected 54.5 percent of the two-party preferred vote, came on the back of a One Nation drain of LNP votes.
A similar swing at a general election could threaten senior government figures, including Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
But secret Liberal National Party polling shows Mr Dutton would hold onto his Queensland seat of Dickson with 52 percent of the two-party vote.
"Dutton is in a strong position, there is good fundraising support and we have a formidable campaign team,'' an LNP insider told The Australian.