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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Page: 1488

Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan) (16:24): I am pleased to speak on today's MPI because, as we all know, this is a government that is living beyond its means. The Australian people do not deserve this government. They do not deserve a government that has increased taxes on superannuation by $8 billion. They do not deserve a government that has attacked the voluntary savings of low-income earners by drastically cutting the super co-contribution scheme. They do not deserve a government that continually ignores self-funded retirees, who are facing the prospect of their hard earned money being stripped away from them because this government cannot manage the economy.

If we look at what this Labor government has done since it got into power, what we see, despite protestations to the contrary, is attacks on superannuation funds. Since 2007, this Labor government has cut the government super co-contribution to low-income earners by more than $3.3 billion—from $1,500 under the Howard government to just $500. The Gillard Labor government has also increased taxes on voluntary savings by reducing concessional contributions from $100,000 under the Howard government to $50,000 and then to $25,000. If someone saves more than $25,000, including their compulsory and voluntary super contributions, they then have to pay the top marginal income tax rate of 46.5c in every dollar.

Labor's attacks on superannuation funds do not stop there. They are incapable of going through a single budget, or Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook process, without slugging super. During MYEFO last year the Treasurer announced the annual regulatory levy on self-managed super funds, regardless of the level of contributions or account balance, would increase by 36 per cent. This was supposed to raise an additional $320 million over four years. This tax change hurts more than 480,000 self-managed superannuation funds across the country.

But imposing $8 billion of increased taxes on superannuation was not enough for this government. They then decided to raise tax on every Australian by imposing the world's only economy-wide carbon tax. The people who got hurt the most were self-funded retirees, the very people who have worked all their life to make sure they had enough money with which to retire. Self-funded retirees did not receive a single cent in compensation when the carbon tax was imposed on them. This is just one example of self-funded retirees being ignored by this government.

These tax imposts have a necessary consequence of the government's gross mismanagement of the economy and failed projects such as a billion dollars wasted on pink batts and dodgy solar panel installations. On top of the accumulated deficit of $172 billion, the Labor government has $120 billion budget black hole as a result of promises they have made. Whether or not they say publicly they will not tax super further, the Australian public cannot trust them. We know how this Labor government works. They will promise and promise tax cuts and reductions and regulations before an election and then after do the opposite, as did the Prime Minister in 2010 when she promised there would be no carbon tax under a government she led.

The coalition is committed to the most efficient, transparent and competitive super system and that is what we will be working towards in government. This is a government without a plan. This is a government that determines the nation's future on the basis the streaker's defence, 'It seemed like a good idea at the time.' This is a government that has lost its way, frantically lurching from decision to decision, desperately trying to rebuild its tattered reputation and yet it cannot even govern itself. From court cases of fraud to ICAC in New South Wales, the ALP stumbles from crisis to crisis.

However, the losers in this comic opera are the people of Australia. Lost and forgotten by a government out of control, the people of Australia know that you cannot spend if you do not have the money. They know a bad government when they see one. They also know that when you need to rebuild there is no better alternative than sane, sensible, and principled coalition government. That is what Australians need. That is what they deserve, not government by smoke and mirrors, not government that spends when it does not have the money, not a government that has lost its way. The coalition has a real plan and the coalition offers hope, reward, and opportunity.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The discussion is now concluded.