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.’