Australian Federal Opposition attacks responsible saving


Australian Federal Opposition attacks responsible saving

Bill Shorten

The Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Bill Shorten of the Australian Labor Party has promised to introduce, if he wins government at the next election, a policy of abolishing franking tax credits for all but public pensioners (full or part). This policy is unreasonable and unfair. He has also hinted at further financial attacks on self-funded retirees.

I am a self-funded retiree who has just enough income and just enough assets to not qualify for even a part pension. I certainly would not call myself wealthy by any means. This proposed policy will only affect the moderately comfortable self-funded retirees as the genuinely wealthy ones will not be affected by it. Those wealthy ones will earn enough from their investments so that they will get their franking credits off their tax and would not be in the position to receive a franking credit tax rebate anyway.

Each year I donate a similar amount to worthwhile charities as I receive in franking credit rebates. The introduction of your policy would mean that I would not be in a position to make those charitable donations. My father was also a self-funded retiree who did not possess great wealth. Due to dementia he spent the last three years of his life in a nursing home. Because he was not on a pension he had to pay approx. $1500 a week for the nursing home (I personally saw the bills and receipts). The Rudd government introduced a tax on self-funded retirees in nursing homes. My father had to pay approx. $1500 a week extra tax on top of the nursing home charges (I personally saw those bills and receipts also).

Governments over the years have verbally encouraged people to save for their retirements where possible and not be a burden on the public purse. Yet those people who do just this and become self-funded retirees are often punished for their thrift and responsibility. This new policy will further exacerbate this situation if introduced. In times of economic uncertainty and likely government shortfalls in revenue do we really want to encourage more people to go on the government pension and take less responsibility in managing their own finances?

I have voted Labor most of the time over the years. However I will not be voting Labor while this policy remains and I imagine considerable numbers of other self-funded retirees will be doing the same.


Environment, Society and Economy

As political players around the world try to recover from the GFC one wonders what the ultimate objectives are. Austerity seems to create as many problems as it solves, spending other people’s money to spur the economy does likewise and in the meantime we can see our environment crapping out at a rate of knots.

Using common sense we can see that there has to be an intelligent balance between environment, social justice and economy. Protecting the environment has to come first, both for ourselves and the other creatures on the planet. If we have any pretence at all of a reasonable social order then social justice and a sustainable, as fair as possible, society must be a priority. That leaves economy. If we mean by economy that you can’t spend wealth that has not been created that is a correct assumption (although many governments love to spend money that they hope to raise in the future from taxes on a probably impoverished generation). On the other hand, if economy means a robust capitalistic system that enables the rich to get richer, then we should simply forget about that particular parameter.