Malcolm Turnbull has shot down a proposal to exempt the big four banks from the government’s company tax cuts.
Some Liberal MPs are pushing for the exemption especially after former Queensland premier Anna Bligh was announced as the sector’s chief lobbyist.
The Australian Bankers Association on Friday announced the appointment of Ms Bligh as its new head.
Liberal backbencher Luke Howarth said Ms Bligh’s appointment adds more weight to the argument to leave the big four out of the coalition’s policy to reduce tax rates over a decade.
“The point is that our Enterprise Tax Plan will not go through the Senate as is … and the big four banks already make plenty of money,” he told The Australian.
“There was a case to have them excluded prior to this … it is more so now … it is a blatant political appointment.”
Asked whether they could be exempt, Mr Turnbull on Saturday said the rate really has to apply across all corporations.
“Distinguishing between one sector and another is not a practical measure,” he told reporters in Queenstown before flying out of New Zealand.
“I’m not aware of that ever being done in any other jurisdiction.”
He said he understands concerns about banking practices but misconduct is being cracked down on.
“We’re taking real action to ensure the banks treat their customers better.”
Labor’s planned royal commission would not result in any action after years of inquiry, he said.
The Australia Institute said its research showed the big four would reap $7.4 billion from the company tax cuts over 10 years.
“The big banks and insurers made nine per cent of company income last year, but accounted for just one per cent of private investment,” executive director Ben Oquist said.