Chloe Shorten wearing the necklace. Picture Kym SmithSource:News Corp Australia
Chloe Shorten wearing the necklace. Picture Kym SmithSource:News Corp Australia

Chloe Shorten’s necklace sparks conspiracy theories

THE disappearance of a sparkly choker from Chloe Shorten's neck during the Opposition Leader's budget-in-reply speech has sparked conspiracy theories about its removal.

Bill Shorten's wife removed the necklace about 30 minutes into the Labor leader's speech, prompting Coalition MPs into a frenzy of texting, according to The Australian.

MPs messaged journalists suggesting she had been asked to remove the necklace because it sent the wrong message, as her husband went on the attack against tax-avoiding millionaires.

However, Mr Shorten's office later explained to The Herald Sun the necklace was removed because a clasp had broken.

The Labor leader has been accused of starting a class war over the federal budget, and his plans to keep the deficit levy on high income earners and limit the Medicare levy increase to wealthier Australians.

Last night Mr Shorten went on the attack against the Turnbull Government's Budget, saying it would support a Medicare levy increase, but only for those earning more than $87,000.

The party will also fight to keep the budget deficit levy of 2 per cent on those earning over $180,000, which was due to expire on June 30. If retained this would see those in the top tax bracket paying an effective tax rate of 49.5 per cent.

By the time Bill Shorten had finished speaking it was gone. Picture Kym SmithSource:News Corp Australia
By the time Bill Shorten had finished speaking it was gone. Picture Kym SmithSource:News Corp Australia


Mr Shorten also backed the bank levy, while also vowing to go after those who "aggressively minimise" their tax by hiding money in offshore havens.

"This is the fair and responsible way forward," he said during a budget reply speech on Thursday night.


But Treasurer Scott Morrison has labelled Mr Shorten's budget reply as political "bulldust", slamming his plan to create a top tax rate of 49.5 per cent.

He said Labor didn't have any solutions for the nation.

"There was just more ideological fringe-dwelling, shouting at the clouds, playing to a union-dominated base and that's no way to run a country," he told a post-budget breakfast in Melbourne this morning.

"What we saw last night from the Labor Party was straight out political bulldust when it comes to what is needed in this country."

He has also described Labor's intention to keep the deficit levy on high income earners, creating a top tax rate nudging 50 per cent as "economic vandalism".

His comments came as angry university students protested outside the venue in Melbourne where Mr Morrison was speaking.

The Budget includes increases to university fees and requires students to pay back their loans earlier.In his speech last night, Mr Shorten vowed to oppose the university changes.

Mr Shorten has insisted his party is looking after middle-income households that would cop a Medicare levy increase under the coalition.

"We are actually taking a stand for the eight million people who earn less than $87,000 a year," he told ABC radio this morning.

"Where you've got a situation where there is pressure on the economy and pressure on the budget I think it's only fair those with the greatest capacity pay a little more."

Mr Shorten said in his Budget speech that the Turnbull government's proposed hike to the Medicare levy would impact people on as little as $21,000 and see a worker earning $55,000 pay an extra $275 per year.

"Labor cannot support making people on modest incomes give up more of their pay packet, especially when this budget goes out of its way to give taxpayer money to millionaires and multinationals," he said.Labor believes it is not the right time to remove the deficit levy as debt for 2017/18 is 10 times worse than predicted in the Liberals' first budget.

Mr Shorten later told the ABC a future Labor government would consider scrapping the deficit levy once the budget reached a surplus.

A Labor budget would reverse the Medicare freeze immediately, restore $22 billion he says the government has stripped from schools and another $600 million torn from TAFE.

The opposition will oppose funding cuts to universities and increases in student fees, as well as a superannuation housing deposit scheme outlined in the budget.

Elsewhere, Labor would cap the amount people can claim as a tax deduction for the management of their tax affairs at $3000 to stop people "exploiting holes" in the net.

"The days of earning millions and paying nothing are over, no matter who you are," Mr Shorten told MPs.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the Labor leader's speech was full of political rhetoric but short on plans.

"There was not a single policy to strengthen growth, create more jobs or give Australians higher wages," Senator Cormann told reporters after the speech.

"His numbers didn't add up. He failed to commit to a surplus in 2021. He seems to be spending some of his revenue measures twice."