Greens seek tax floor for rich

The Greens have called for a tax crackdown on the wealthiest Australians which could raise $7 billion over four years.

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Greens leader Richard Di Natale outlined the plan for the introduction of the so-called Buffett rule in a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.

The rule is based on a proposal by billionaire Warren Buffett who thought it was immoral that he should be paying less tax than his secretary.

“A simple floor on the amount of tax that people should pay would generate a collective tax return of $7 billion over the forward estimates, coming from the top one per cent of the Australian community who pay very little tax,” Senator Di Natale said.

The most recent tax data showed 56 millionaires who earned a collective $129 million paid no tax.

The Greens leader said that was unjust, given the government was urging people to tighten their belts and accept a $80 billion reduction in spending on health and education.

Senator Di Natale also gave a brief outline of his party’s economic principles, ahead of next week’s budget.

They included shifting money from unproductive areas of the economy, focusing on the “clean” economy, lifting government revenue and eliminating tax avoidance.

In the wake of the government’s $50 billion deal with France to build 12 new submarines, Senator Di Natale said the Greens did not believe defence spending was a “sacred cow”.

He took aim at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to put house prices and industrial relations at the heart of the coalition’s election agenda.

“If there is one thing that brings those conservative reactionaries together, it’s the promise of a bit of good old-fashioned union bashing and a dishonest scare campaign about property prices,” he said.

“People deserve more and we are going to lay out our vision for a more prosperous, more sustainable and more caring society and we owe that to the Australian community after so many years of empty politics.”