Superannuation: Tax Breaks for the ‘Fabulously Rich’ Under Threat from Gillard; Tax Breaks for the Lowest 30% Under Threat from Abbott

This excellent article is cross-posted from Fair Media Alliance by kind permission of Kate Ahearne. Many thanks, Kate.

(Credit: David Rowe)

Yesterday morning I received an email from GetUp! asking me to sign a petition about tax breaks which are benefiting the wealthiest contributors to super funds. The petition aims to convince the Cabinet of the inequity of the current tax break system.

Here is the petition –

Current superannuation tax concession laws are unfair and unacceptable.

Australia must change current superannuation laws which provide the greatest benefit through tax concessions to the wealthiest Australians while the least well off get nothing. This money must be distributed to those who will struggle to get by in their retirement, or to areas like education, health, infrastructure and renewable energy production.
I urge you to follow through on your intention and make big changes to superannuation to make the system fairer and more equitable in the budget this May.

Let’s get behind them and sign up now. This issue is vital for low-income earners. Here’s the link.

Meanwhile, Bernard Keane at Crikey has written a terrific article (locked, unfortunately, but no doubt some of our readers are Crikey subscribers) bristling with statistics showing how the current system of tax benefits are going to the wealthiest percentage of the population – He quotes a Treasury forecast which says:

It is estimated that in 2012-13 the top 5 per cent of contributors will receive 20.3 per cent of contribution concessions. The top 1 per cent will receive 5.3 per cent of contribution concessions.

Tony Abbott would have us believe that there is about to be a ‘betrayal‘ of Australians if any changes are made to Superannuation tax breaks for the wealthiest 1-2%.

At the same time, he refuses to say whether he will or he won’t recind the changes if he gets into office. Click on this article in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. In particular, this remark from Julia Gillard –

‘I’m not going to get into income ranges, but I will say this. We made some superannuation changes in the last budget for people who earn more than $300,000 a year and of course those superannuation changes should flow through to people like me. Precisely, absolutely,’ Ms Gillard said.

Mr Abbott is a bit confused. He warns about a ‘betrayal‘, repeatedly refuses to say that he’ll recind any alteration to the tax breaks now offered to the highest income bracket, saying ‘We aren’t going to do any more damage,’ and, ‘Your money is safe with us.’ So, while he doesn’t like raising the superannuation tax threshold to 30% for the fabulously wealthy, he fully intends to hit the bottom 30% of earners: ‘Mr Abbott reaffirmed, however, that the Coalition would scrap the super tax offset for low-income earners, prompting the government to accuse him of having skewed priorities by going after 3.6 million Australians on salaries of $37,000 or less.’

Well, what can the poor thing do? If the Gillard Government decides to require the top 1-2% to pay 30% instead of 15%, how can Abbott spin it, whilst madly also trying to spin his proposed rip-off of the lowest 30%?

Of course, the disinformation campaign is well underway in some parts of the media (more on that in coming days) and Simon Crean seems to have ‘lost the plot’ altogether.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily Telegraph doesn’t seem to know what to do, any more than Tony Abbott does. On its NewsLocal site, this is the headline – SUPER NO PIGGY-BANK FOR LABOR SAYS FEDERAL OPPOSITION LEADER, TONY ABBOTT. But then the article proceeds to open with this!

OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott says the Labor Government should get its hands off people’s retirement savings but has confirmed he will wind back low-income superannuation concessions.

Deary me! This is one issue that’s going to be very difficult for the the Mainstream Media to hurt Julia Gillard with. Outright lies might help their cause, or course.

Even The Australian, that infamous serial offender, last Sunday ran with the headline – TONY ABBOTT PLAN TO SCRAP SUPERANNUATION TAX CUT ‘HITS POOR’.

Fairfax, in both The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, have done a good job of reporting the state of play pretty fairly in Daniel Hurst’s article. Well done them, and well done Daniel Hurst! Even the headline, ‘TAX RISES A ‘BETRAYAL’ THAT ABBOTT MIGHT NOT REVERSE’, seems fair enough. So thanks for that. We appreciate it!

So, let’s just get all of that into a nutshell:

Julia Gillard is proposing to raise the tax on superannuation for the ‘fabulously wealthy’, while Tony Abbot is proposing to axe the tax break for the lowest 30% of Australian earners. Trick question: Which of these is Robbin’ Hood?’

Thanks to cornlegend, Truth Seeker and Tinfoilhatter who read the draft of this piece, and offered some insightful comments, including this from cornlegend:

Under LNP 3.5 million, including the lowest paid workers could lose out.

Under Labor, only the filthy rich will pay

Abbott is in the envious position, where he only needs to peddle fear not policy, because he is not held to account.

Let’s change that !!!

And the last word to Tinfoilhatter –

‘Yes, we are all being bamboozled by the numbers and treated as if we are bitter and envious. Not so. Just seeking equity and decency. The fact is, the superannuation system as it stands is flawed and needs re-balancing. Those out of the workforce for any length of time will also suffer greatly. If the aged pension is eventually going to be scrapped (G-d forbid) then this needs to be addressed before we have a generation of elderly serfs and beggars.’

500 thoughts on “Superannuation: Tax Breaks for the ‘Fabulously Rich’ Under Threat from Gillard; Tax Breaks for the Lowest 30% Under Threat from Abbott

  1. Joe6pack

    I’ve set up a spread sheet and bookmarked a random number generator, if you want me to do the raffle next Friday. I’m in WA so the time diff may cause some bother and I’m usually not back from my travails until about 5:30 or 6:00 pm your time but I’ll try and get back early enough to run it without a hitch.

    I think that you could do with handing it over to someone who has the time to run it and I’m willing if that’s OK with everyone. Just my way of showing my appreciation for the sterling work you and the gang of 4 mods do on this excellent site.

  2. Well, I wish I’d been at the footy. Instead I was shlepping around the streets of my town calling on voters.

    My brain hurts from conducting sparkling conversations with people I had only just met for the first time to try and win their votes. Over and over again, from house to house and street to street.

    I dunno if I want to be a politician any more! 😉

    Anyhoo, the general reaction we got ranged from enthusiastic support for our Local Member…because of who she is and not because of the government she is a part of…to someone who gently upbraided us for ‘getting rid of’ Rudd as the nation’s duly elected PM(which is an interesting perspective on the now age old argument about his political decapitation, that is, it’s not for the party to behead a leader, but the people, in a democracy)….all the way to a couple of people who just burst out laughing at us when they opened the door. 🙂

    All in all though, it was a generally positive experience.

    Except for the blisters I now have on the top and bottom of my feet(wrong shoes) 😉

  3. I heard Ged Kearney interviewed on AM this week. She wasn’t taking any crap from Sabra Lane, that’s ferrsure. 😀

  4. C@tmomma,
    It feels like a bloody thankless task doesn’t it? But sometimes that’s all we can do. Each of us has to think of what we can offer. It may not be the big picture item but it may be as equally important

  5. 6Pack – I saw a bit of video sometime of Cumberland taken from above that showed it doing the tail swaying thing to wash of speed in the actual harbour before doing a 180 to dock in quick smart time – very precise and graceful. It’s called ship handling.

    I looked for it on the internet this morning and couldn’t find it so I guess it must have come from unmentionable sources.

  6. rnm1953,
    Can you upload it to You Tube and then we could download it?

    I don’t know, I’m just guessing here.

    Bushfire Bill is our resident media guru. 🙂

  7. Joe, not sure. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to that.
    The background is that last night or whenever we had a video of people sailing in big seas to Antartica. I have some still shots of when the Pasha Bulka washed up at Newcastle in 2007. Not seen by many people.

  8. This election is shaping up to be a real Nutters and Fruitloops showdown. Katter and his Kattermites, Pawleeen Hanson threatening to run – AGAIN! – the DLP hoping to get someone, anyone to be candidates for them, Senator X trying to get another six years (God forbid) and best/worst of all, depending on how you feel, Julian Asssange now has enough supporters to form his very own party. How he proposes to take up his seat should he win one (more God forbids, x 100) has yet to be explained. Ye gods and little fishes,what are the voters of this country thinking? Do we really want any of that lot holding a balance of power in either house?

    Speaking of St Julian the Incarcerated, I enjoyed this –

  9. leone

    [Julian Asssange now has enough supporters to form his very own party.]

    I can just see them all getting out of mini-cabs and going into the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to receive ‘words of wisdom’ from Julian in the ramp up to the election.

    Or would he appear on the balcony to the adoring masses standing in Hans Crescent?

  10. Leone,

    If the abbott sails into the lodge with his Jesuit lineup and we get all those dregs and misfits into the Senate, the next three years will be sheer bloody torture.

  11. foreverjanice,
    It’s not me who deserves the medal, it’s my Local Member, who does this AND her parliamentary duties and her appearances at functions in this electorate! All the time!

  12. [Julian Asssange now has enough supporters to form his very own party.]

    He can spend the rest of his life in the embassy the uppity wanker, and no political party he starts will do diddly squat

  13. leonetwo,
    If the Nutters and Frootloops get themselves elected to the Senate, and we have Abbott ruling the roost in the Lower House, it won’t be Parliament House any more, it will be the Nut House!

  14. It seems that the IPA still hate G Whitlam. Yet are saying that Abbott should act like Whitlam. The bit from the IPA website also shows, what a do nothing Government was the Menzies and the Liberal Governments that followed.

    If Tony Abbott wants to leave a lasting impact – and secure his place in history – he needs to take his inspiration from Australia’s most left-wing prime minister.

    No prime minister changed Australia more than Gough Whitlam. The key is that he did it in less than three years. In a flurry of frantic activity, Whitlam established universal healthcare, effectively nationalised higher education with free tuition, and massively increased public sector salaries. He more than doubled the size of cabinet from 12 ministers to 27.

    He enacted an ambitious cultural agenda that continues to shape Australia to this day. In just three years, Australia was given a new national anthem, ditched the British honours system, and abolished the death penalty and national service. He was the first Australian prime minister to visit communist China and he granted independence to Papua New Guinea. Whitlam also passed the Racial Discrimination Act. He introduced no-fault divorce.

    The IPA still want to remove everything from the Whitlam era.

    What a great Government was the Whitlam Government.

  15. Sounds like maybe the gloves are coming off? Watch the MSM come to the aid of their beloved Tony now that mean Julia has attacked him.

    Good. If Labor are going down (and I still have faith that it’s not over yet) then they may as well go down swinging and throwing punches.

  16. Yes Julia! We need this and much more of it!

    Kenny, on Gillard’s comments about Abbott’s economic insanities:

    The comments, which were unusually harsh from a government leader travelling abroad…

    In return for Abbott saying we’re the New Cyprus (once we were the New Greece and then the New Spain, but times move on) Gillard makes the obvious comment – or is there someone here prepared to argue we ARE the New Cyprus? – Kenny characterizes her comments as “unusually harsh”.

    Gallery journos don’t “do” words like “unusual”. For “unusual” read “depraved”, “desperate”, “shambolic” and so on.

    Youse know the drill.

    It will be this way right through to the election if Abbott can manage it.

    He says anything stupid and outrageous, dangerous and inflammatory that he can think of, like: “We’re the New Cyprus”.

    Gillard responds… and it’s all her fault. Panicking, desperate, under poll stress etc.

    Abbott has been given so much rope (or is that “rope-a-dope”?) by the media that eventually he’ll go too far. There’ll be something he says that even his tame sycohants at Fairfax and Murdoch can’t stomach. It’ll have to be a big one, but Abbot’s known for Big Blunders.

    The “Cyprus” comment was straight out of the Ray Hadley-Alan Jones playbook. It’s the kind of thing the tradies, retirees and deadshits who listen to those programs and who phone them up saying things like “Ray, Australia needs you as its next PM”, really love to think.

    Eventually he’ll overstretch himself. One day he’ll go too far. He warns his party colleagues against hubris, but he can’t help himself.

  17. From the IPA website. They really want us to be like the Yanks.
    Take, for instance, the Gillard government’s National Curriculum. Opposing this policy ought to be a matter of faith for state Liberals. The National Curriculum centralises education power in Canberra, and will push a distinctly left-wing view of the world onto all Australian students. But it has been met with acceptance – even support – by the Coalition’s state education ministers. This is because a single National Curriculum has been an article of faith within the education bureaucracy for decades; an obsession of education unions and academics, who want education to ‘shape’ Australia’s future. (No prize for guessing what that shape might look like.) A small-target election strategy has the unfortunate side-effect of allowing ministerial aspirants to avoid thinking too deeply about major areas in their portfolio. So when, in the first week as minister, they are presented with a list of policy priorities by their department, it is easier to accept what the bureaucracy considers important, rather than what is right. The only way to avoid such departmental capture is to have a clear idea of what to do with government once you have it.

    Ronald Reagan not only presided over pro-market deregulation and tax cuts during eight years in the White House, but also provided the ideological fuel for the 1994 Republican revolution in the House of Representatives, led by Newt Gingrich, which enacted far-reaching welfare reform.

    Here we provide a list of 75 policies that would make Australia richer and more free. It’s a deliberately radical list. There’s no way Tony Abbott could implement all of them, or even a majority. But he doesn’t have to implement them all to dramatically change Australia. If he was able to implement just a handful of these recommendations, Abbott would be a transformative figure in Australian political history. He would do more to shift the political spectrum than any prime minister since Whitlam.

  18. Jeesus!…Julia..whatch that old bastard!..he’ll be doing “jake the peg” before you know it!

  19. Tony Abbott is a dangerous ‘simpleton’.
    Maybe . But the people behind him are far from simpletons

    Aren’t they just!

    Isn’t it peculiar that people find within themselves greater motivation to be evil than good?

    Oh, and I don’t mean Abbott is unintelligent, just an unreconstructed man with dangerously simplistic notions..

  20. Alright!’s not a protest song! a matter of fact, I don’t even know WHAT the f*ck he’s sayin’…I just like it!

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