Almost a million workers woke up on 1 July to the Liberals’ penalty rates cuts, reducing their take home pay by thousands of dollars every year.

On the same day, a new tax cut for the wealthiest Australians came into effect, granting the average millionaire an extra $16,800 per year in reduced taxes. The Liberals chose to allow the deficit repair levy to lapse, despite the deficit trebling on their watch.

The contrast has shocked union leaders who say the two kinds of cuts expose who Malcolm Turnbull is and who his government is working for.

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said it was unfair political decisions on issues like penalty rates and tax cuts for the high income earners that were leading to a US-style working poor.

“How is it right that in the same week Malcolm Turnbull is cutting the pay of the poorest workers in hospitality, retail and fast-food; he’s also giving himself and his mates a $16,000 tax cut?”

“It’s not right. We will take this issue to the next federal election. We won’t be letting them get away with it,” McManus said.

McManus said inequality was at a 70-year high in Australia and the Government should be taking action to reduce the gap between the rich and the rest, not making it wider by cutting wages and boosting the resources of those at the top.

The tax cuts are in addition to the $65 billion the Liberals plan to give to business in corporate tax cuts, benefiting many of the same people.