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. well he should mind his own business then

    they do alright for themselves

    i would like to seee all sport un paid status
    i may watch it again i think they earn far to much money

    we even decided to give football a miss , well not watch as much

  2. Some wit has started #TweetLikeDavidHusssey and it’s doing well. Some samples –

    Please Wayne Swan can you stop taxing hard working Aussies like me? I play a whole 14 games of cricket EVERY YEAR #TweetLikeDavidHussey

    Please Prime Minister, do something about the price of latte. It’s outrageous! #TweetLikeDavidHussey

    Please Prime Minister can you change the end of Titanic so Kate Winslet dies instead of Leo? #TweetLikeDavidHussey

  3. hussey should stick to cricket the reserve bank looks after our currency

    hopw the twitter people are on to him bloody cheeck

  4. A lot of you will have already found this, from Bill Shorten, in your in-box –

    Dear leone

    You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about superannuation lately – and a lot of misinformation.

    Today Labor announced how we’ll make superannuation fairer for those on lower incomes and more sustainable for the future.

    Can you share these facts and set the record straight?

    1. A person aged 30 today on average full-time earnings will now retire with an extra $118,000 in superannuation savings.

    2. Only people with superannuation savings of $2 million or more will be affected by these changes – this is only 0.4% of Australians retiring in 2014-15.

    3. The Liberals want to cut additional superannuation support for 3.6 million low paid Australians, including 2.1 million women, and oppose these changes for 16,000 wealthy Australians.

    Former Prime Minister Paul Keating says the changes are in keeping with the original intention of Labor’s superannuation system, which was never meant to be an income shelter for those able to contribute increasing levels of precautionary savings.

    Can you tell your friends and family about these changes so more people know the facts?

    Thank you,


  5. Got a letter from Eleventy Joe,

    Dear Spacey,

    Labor is trying to plug its Budget black hole with yet more taxes.

    Labor in its panic is once again raiding Australians’ superannuation – and it won’t be the last time.

    Despite Julia Gillard asking Australians to take her on trust when she promised that she would “never remove tax-free superannuation payments for the over-60s” (Julia Gillard, House of Representatives, 6/2/13), she has now committed her government to taxing the assets of super funds that are used for pension payments.

    The almost $1 billion of tax hikes are the beginning and not the end of Labor’s assault on superannuation and come after 5 years of Labor’s economic mismanagement.

    With Labor now paying almost $7 billion a year in interest on their debt you can be guaranteed that a re-elected Labor government will continue to raid Australians’ superannuation accounts for many years to come.

    Unlike Labor, we are committed to superannuation and, if elected, there will be no unexpected detrimental changes to the superannuation system during the next term of parliament. We understand that Australians saving through super must have certainty when planning for their futures.


    Joe Hockey
    Shadow Treasurer

  6. gosh it s times like this i wish i tweeted

    a crickters earn money for hitting a ball from one end of the ground to another

    while people that go to uni for years and years and save lives earn a lot less.


    so no takers on what crean said on tv

    or has my oh been a sleep in the chair while i was looking after his grand children and day dreamed. i was crean.

    and did abbott reallysay this
    this time about the Western cannon, the literature, the poetry, the music, the history[and above all the faith\without which our culture and our civilisation is unimaginable.”

    who does he think he is,
    i cannot believe it,

    wish he would say in public

    i tell i told you
    and i said the first day he was elected opp, leader

    a liberal on PB said your a bigot
    and bet your not catholic,,,,,, well did i crack up
    true story
    of course he is different its the company he keeps,

    i thought there would of been a cartoon by now,
    puppet and two people sitting above him each dress appropriatley

    seriously this speach underlining those words needed b e tweeted 20 million times,

    one would have to ask ones self,,,, will you all be told that sunday is the sabath and shops will close again like the 50s

    we live in scary times,.

  7. AAA AAA AAA= 9A Geek AAA AAA AAA= 9A Geek ‏@geeksrulz 3m

    Prime Minister, why does a round pizza come in a square box? #TweetlikeDavidHussey

  8. I am not watching

    “@ABCNews24: It’s time for #CapitalHill now with @BillShortenMP @MathiasCorman and John Brogden. #auspol #superannuation bit.lyabcnewsnow”

  9. On twitter

    [“@mrn487: .@DavidHussey29 I thinkIi would stick to cricket if I were you – Julia has NO control over the value of the Australian dollar you twit”]

  10. He’s a Pit Shi-Tzu, shortened to Pit-Zhu.

    One unkind person used the alternative abbreviation: Bull-Shi’T.

    Cozzie despatched him immediately.

    Beecroft Fighting Dogs are unpredictable like that.

  11. go t comma

    i have always maintained that a sportsperson no matter they are should ge a uni ecuatiion also
    they have far to much time on their hands

    they all cannot end up as commentators

  12. beautiful darling dog,

    you should see what we have to baby sit for 6 weeks

  13. Coincidence? Just saw a Gov ad for super, saying how it was going to rise from July, plus for people earning 35,000 or less will get 500 top up. It was a very clear ad, short sharp and to the point. If they can keep doing this sort of thing I think they could make a bit of headway.

    And where’s the raffle?????

  14. The only thing any of them were scared of was…

    Tintanium was a monster. Weighed in at 8 kilos.

  15. Even getting a return of 10% anyone who has a million dollars in their super is doing alright. They can afford to pay the tax. What would really do their heads in is if the ALP used the proceeds to subsidize the bottom end of super.

  16. I’d imagine the super announcements/ads are going to have to compete with news coverage thereof. 7 is already promising to show ‘the devil in the detail’ of the changes.

  17. This talk of cats and food has set me thinking on winter fare – real steak and kidney pie, beef Wellington and the like.

    The cat mention has given me a rabbit in red wine sauce idea.

    A long while since I’ve had that – Tlbd, any idea where I could buy a decent rabbit here?

  18. BB what a cute little fluff ball!

    He was a lion.

    Dogs lived in fear of him looking in their general direction. He had a force field around him into which dogs would not stray.

    Beautiful cat, died ultimately of kidney failure, blind and lame with cancer. The vet removed two toes (the cancer was in his claws) and told us the cancer was cured, but it wasn’t. It must have spread just before the operation, days before.

    When he went blind I was snoozing on the lounge. I went to sleep and he could see. An hour later and he was bumping into furniture. It was that quick.

    Detatched retinas due to hypertension, due in turn to the kidney disease.

    My wife cried for days. He was her cat.

  19. Reading over earlier posts re: Abbott and interview techniques. Similar to Reith when he was in govt.
    Q “Mr Reith what do you think about men in balaclavas?”
    A “That’s right. Petrol will be cheaper under a LIb Govt”
    With a compliant media, they will get away with anything and everything.
    What’s the best approach?
    1) Advertise at the govts expense. Bugger political niceties. As WC Field said “Never give a sucker an even break”
    2) Close to the election when we are assured that Abbott will be the leader taking them into the election, dump everything we have on him and his cronies.
    There’s an underlying distrust of Abbott out there so at the right time break him.
    Was reading somewhere that fear of what an oppo may do is the biggest weapon the govt has.

  20. 6Pack – I’m still hoping for the reef option but with the conservatives in power I doubt it.

  21. Damn, lost last comment

    As I was saying…..

    Janice, you last comment was spot on, unfortunately for us all.

    Had a great afternoon at the footy. A lot of people got sunburnt, they played shorter quarters, a great time had by all. I just love country town footy, it’s like a big family get together, with a bit of yelling and screaming, lots of laughter and fun, and the kids doing their own thing having a ball.

    It certainly took the old mind of politics for a few hours. As you can all see, could wait to get back here to The Pub to see what you were all up to. That clip of magic was brilliant.

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