The Greens are prepared to vote down an increase in tax rates for wealthy Australians.
Instead, they want the Abbott government to target tax concessions such as the diesel fuel excise rebate, which they say favours billionaire miners such as Gina Rinehart.
The federal government might need the support of the Greens in the Senate if it wants to lift marginal tax rates for those earning more than $80,000 a year.
It’s considering the measure as an alternative to its deficit tax levy, which has been derided by some coalition MPs, Labor and business groups.
The government is leaning towards altering higher-end marginal tax rates: the 37 per cent rate that applies between $80,001 and $180,000 could increase to 38 per cent; and the 45 per cent rate for incomes over $180,001 would be raised to 47 per cent.
At the lower end, that equates to $200 extra tax for someone earning $100,000. At the top, it means an extra $5500 for someone on a salary of $450,000.
Deputy Greens leader Adam Bandt is a reluctant starter on the proposal, citing the government’s “steadfast refusal” to address the cost of the diesel fuel excise rebate.
“We don’t think it’s justified,” he told Sky News of plans to increase tax revenue on individual taxpayers, even those at the high end.
Instead, the Greens want the government to look at getting more out of wealthy business interests that back the coalition “to the hilt”, giving Ms Rinehart’s companies as an example.
“You start with those who can most afford it,” Mr Bandt said.