Tuesday, 20 March 2018
Questions without Notice
Pensions and Benefits
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services, Senator Fierravanti-Wells. I refer to an answer the minister gave in the Senate yesterday when the minister was defending her government's cuts to pensions, and I quote: 'What are you going to come up with next? Negative gearing on the family home?' Can the minister explain the circumstances in which it is possible for a taxpayer to negatively gear their family home?
Senator Bilyk, if you were listening you would have heard me say that I was talking about the introduction of death duties, potentially on the family home. Now, you guys over there have obviously discussed it, because you'll dream up absolutely anything—
Yes, a point of order on direct relevance. I can assist the minister. The direct quote is, 'What are you going to come up with next? Negative gearing on the family home? Death duties on the family home?' We have asked the minister about the first part of the quote, not the second.
Senator Wong, quite frankly, you guys on the other side would come up with anything, given the tax hole that you have now dug yourself and given the six years of fiscal vandalism. My point was this, Senator Wong: you have basically declared war on pensioners and retirees, many of whom will be thousands and thousands of dollars worse off, and you plan, as Senator Cormann said today, to double-tax pensioners and retirees in a bid to bail yourselves out of the budget black hole that you cannot pay for. The latest invention: more than half of all refunded franking credits are paid to individuals who earn less than the $18,200 tax-free threshold, including pensioners and self-funded retirees—97 per cent—
The point of order is again on relevance. The minister is not in the least referring to negative gearing, which is what the question was. And it leads us to wonder: will she correct Hansard if she claims it is not what she said?
It's a bit like The Castle. In the end, you will abolish negative gearing. You are now making an enormous tax grab into the pockets of self-funded retirees who have been working all of their lives, and you are coming along and taxing them. Today it's self-funded retirees. Who will it be tomorrow? That is the point I was making. (Time expired)
Yes. Given the minister's clear comprehension on negative gearing, can she explain how a couple on $130,000 a year in superannuation income and $15,000 a year in dividend income could be considered low income? I'll add one more part to the question, isn't this the same misleading use of taxable income as the government unsuccessfully used in its attempt to—
Thank you, Senator Bilyk. Let me tell you about negative gearing. Let me tell you that if you are returned to government after the next federal election we will see a repetition of the six years of fiscal vandalism. Negative gearing will go, rents will go up, and, as I was saying, what will it be next? What will it be next?
Of course, we can always go back to the previous years when Labor were in government. Remember Paul Keating and double-digit inflation? Remember interest rates of 18 per cent on mortgages? Remember your huge government debt? Remember the recession we had to have? All that you ever know—it's the true adage: Margaret Thatcher said it: 'The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money,' and that's what you are doing. You will run out of other people's— (Time expired)
Honourable senators interjecting—
Maybe if I keep going back in time. Seriously, since question time yesterday has the relevant minister, their staff, departmental staff or someone who understands the government's policy on negative gearing sat the minister down and taken her through it?
Thank you, Senator Bilyk, I have continued to receive emails in relation to concerns about the Labor Party if you do get into government. As I was saying, in the end you are now, basically, raiding the savings of self-funded retirees and pensioners.
An incident having occurred in the gallery—
Thank you. Basically, as I was saying, it was six years of fiscal vandalism. Mr Shorten, you're having a go in relation to pensioners, but what you are doing is ripping thousands of dollars out of the pockets of pensioners and self-funded retirees—people who have worked all of their lives and saved their money, and now you are coming along and you are going to rip them off. Shame on you!