Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Questions without Notice
I thank Senator Brockman for that very important policy question. Our government will always seek to support those Australians who act responsibly and prudently by saving for their own retirement throughout their working lives. We will always support those hardworking Australians who contribute to our economy during their working lives and, importantly, who make sacrifices throughout their lives to be able to look after their own needs in retirement or to limit their reliance on taxpayers. They deserve our support. Encouraging Australians to work harder to support themselves is precisely what our Liberal-National government is all about. As the Prime Minister says, a fair go for those who have a go. Labor used to believe this too, of course, but not any more.
Our government has introduced reforms to superannuation laws to ensure that those saving for retirement are not ripped off. We have extended fund choice for more Australians. In our last budget, we provided more time for Australians aged 65 to 74 with less than $370,000 in super to boost their retirement savings by introducing an exemption from the superannuation work test. Liberal-National governments have always backed older Australians. It was the Howard government, back in 2000, which amended the dividend imputation system to allow for the full refundability of franking credits. Back then Beazley Labor supported this policy. That was then. Shorten Labor stands for higher taxes on retirees and higher taxes on hard-working Australians who look after their own needs in retirement. Shorten Labor is all about putting their hands in the pockets of older Australians who have worked hard all their life to help pay for their latest spending spree. That is what older Australians will get under Labor. Labor today are reaching—let me say it again—into the pockets of around 900,000 Australians, including low-income earners and self-funded retirees, who will miss out on refunds of their own tax so that Bill Shorten can spend more of their money on reckless Labor spending.
I thank Senator Brockman for that supplementary. When you put people in the best possible position to save for their own retirement by providing the right incentives and removing disincentives, more people will save and invest and fewer people will rely on a full pension. It also means that the government is better able to provide the strong safety net for those Australians who genuinely need that support, making sure that the taxes paid by all Australians are appropriately well targeted in terms of the expenditure. Labor's policy, to put their hands into the pockets of hard-working Australians with higher taxes, will affect Australians who have worked hard all their lives, who have saved hard, who have been encouraged by governments of both persuasions to save hard and to invest in their retirement, to invest in Australian shares. Their investment is vital to ensuring our economy continues to grow by ensuring Australian businesses receive capital to grow. But that is not the only reason. Citi Research shows that Labor's policy would diminish demand for Australian shares relative to other investments.
Yes, there are. The risks are obvious. They are Labor and Mr Shorten. Because the Australian Labor Party and Mr Shorten have already injected uncertainty into this debate by throwing away bipartisan support for dividend imputation arrangements that have been in place for nearly two decades. First they had one tax attack on pensioners and retirees released in the middle of March this year, only to junk it two weeks later. Who are the targets of Mr Shorten's tax attack? Are they the undeserving rich? No—they are around 900,000 Australians, 45 per cent of whom are 65 years or older. 84 per cent of those Australians impacted by Labor's tax on retirees are on taxable incomes of less than $37,000. (Time expired)