The Labor leader will deliver his speech on Thursday night and will promise to make life easier for some of the lowest paid workers in the country – many of them working mums who did not fare so well under the tax package unveiled in Tuesday’s budget.

Mr Shorten is expected to warn the budget will leave an estimated 2.9 million taxpayers who earn less than $40,000 worse off than under a Labor government.

“Make no mistake, this is a Liberal Party tax on working mums,” Mr Shorten said.

“Families are already dealing with cuts to child care and no funding, certainly for kindergarten under the Liberals – the last thing they need is higher taxes under the Liberals.

“Whether it’s lower taxes, better super, or universal preschool, Labor is the party for working mums and working families.”

Battle lines drawn

In his budget reply speech, Mr Shorten will confirm the Labor government will deliver lower taxes than the Coalition for those nearly three million workers.

“With Labor, 10 million Australians get the same or bigger tax cut. Nearly three million low-paid workers get a bigger tax cut,” Mr Shorten said

Labor has ruled out adopting other tax cuts that would benefit high-income earners, drawing the battle lines for the May election.

“A retail worker on $35,000 a year would get a tax cut of $255 a year under the Liberals, compared to $350 in Labor’s original plan.

“A part time nurse on $40,000 a year would get a tax cut of $480 a year under the Liberals, compared to $508 in Labor’s original plan.”

But those on $200,000 would benefit from a tax cut of $11,460 – a tax cut that is 45 times higher.

“We’re not convinced that a person who earns $200,000 a year should get a tax cut 11 times of the person on $40,000 a year.”

Funding injection into health

The budget reply speech is also expected to include a major health announcement designed to put Medicare front and centre in the election campaign.

Mr Shorten is expected to pledge more affordable cancer treatments, including covering the cost of MRIs for women with breast cancer, potentially saving patients up to $1,500 for a scan.

The Coalition have made a similar pledge, with Health Minister Greg Hunt last week announcing funding of $32.6 million “so breast cancer patients have life-saving covered under Medicare”.

Currently, men with prostate cancer can secure a rebate for an MRI under Medicare, but many women with breast cancer can’t.

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