Monday, 22 June 2015
Older Australians have limited ability to adjust to arbitrary changes to the taxation environment. They have made plans to maximize their superannuation income and to enjoy a certain lifestyle based on the existing policy environment. Any increase in tax on superannuation income is akin to retrospective taxation, and it is something that no sensible government should pursue.
Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan) (10:39): I rise today to speak about an issue that is causing great concern and financial uncertainty among older residents in the electorate of Ryan. There are more than 25,000 residents in my electorate aged 60 or older. These people have spent decades working hard, paying taxes and contributing to Australian society. Even now, many are still working or, if not, contributing to the community through volunteer and unpaid word. They do not expect a handout from government, but what they do expect is that the government sets the policy framework that provides some financial certainty for them in retirement. Older Australians have limited ability to adjust to arbitrary changes to the taxation environment. They have made plans to maximise their superannuation income and to enjoy a certain lifestyle based on the existing policy environment. Any increase in tax on superannuation income is akin to retrospective legislation and it is something that no sensible government should pursue.
Increasing tax on superannuation is exactly what Labor intends to do. Labor's so-called Fairer Super package is in actual fact one of the least fair tax hikes imaginable. It is unfair because, by taxing superannuation earnings above $75,000 per annum, Labor is retrospectively pulling the rug out from under older Australians who have saved for retirement on the understanding that their super income would be tax exempt. And it is unfair because it amounts to double taxation of superannuation, given that Labor wants to tax super income as well as super contributions. The coalition government respects older Australians who have worked hard to fund their own retirement. That is why, unlike Labor, the coalition government will not introduce any new taxes on superannuation.
It is not just self-funded retirees who will lose under Labor. Showing what can only be described as exceptionally poor judgement, last week the Leader of the Opposition indicated that Labor would oppose bills that will boost the incomes of part pensioners with limited superannuation incomes by $30 a fortnight. We were then witness to the extraordinary scenario of the Greens party showing more financial responsibility than Labor in coming to agreement with the coalition to support the bills. When the Labor Party has sunk so low as to be less trusted than the Greens to protect the retirement incomes of older Australians of limited means, it speaks volumes about the direction that the Labor Party is going in.
The shadow Treasurer said at the National Press Club that he welcomes an election on superannuation. Well, so do I. I say 'bring it on', because the coalition will ensure that every Australian who goes into the polling booths to vote at the next election will do so in the knowledge that a vote for Labor is a vote for higher taxes and lower retirement incomes. Only the coalition government can be trusted to ensure that there are no new taxes on superannuation income.
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