Budget 2017: tax on banks ‘will be passed on to strugglers like us’

The Australian, May 11, 2017

Small business owners Deb and Brian Harvey’s disdain for banks was forged 27 years ago in the ­recession that then prime minister Paul Keating said Australia had to have.

By the late 1980s they each had second jobs to keep up with mortgage payments on the family home, but as the cash rate climbed to 18 per cent they knew they would have to sell the house.

“You couldn’t talk to the banks then. They were pretty terrible,” Mr Harvey said.

They are unconvinced that banks will be forced to change as a result of Tuesday announcement that they will be hit with an extra $6.2 billion in taxes.

Mr Harvey said they realised almost immediately after the budget was handed down that “the banks will just claw it back from the people somehow”.

Mrs Harvey, 58, said: “We were pretty excited when we heard that the banks are going to be taxed but we know who is going to end up paying for it — us strugglers.

“It sucks. Working people just can’t catch a break.”

The couple own EmbroiderMe, a clothing label store in the newly created federal seat of Burt in Perth’s south won by Labor’s Matt Keogh last year with the largest swing in the nation, 13.2 per cent.

Burt, notionally held by the ­Coalition going into the election, was one of seven electorates in outer-urban areas or on the fringe of a capital city that abandoned the Turnbull government.

Malcolm Turnbull’s message fell flat in Burt during the election campaign last year. Modest suburbs such as Canning Vale, where the Harveys run their shop, had been hit hard by the state’s cooling economy and lashed the Liberals.

Mr Harvey, a former electrician who was made redundant from his job in the resources sector when the construction boom ended, said he did not relate to Mr Turnbull. “Something about his manner,” he said.

Mr Harvey describes himself as a swinging voter but said he was currently disenchanted with the Liberals and the tax on banks did not make him want to vote for them.