Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2865

Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN(9.31) —I wish to speak tonight on the Income Tax Assessment Amendment Bill (No. 3) 1984 which is before the Senate, particularly as it relates to the proposed 30 per cent tax on superannuation lump sum payments. I register my protest at the tremendous increase in the tax on lump sum superannuation payments. Time restraints have been put on us this evening; so I will not say too much because a lot of Opposition senators have spoken very clearly and distinctly about this problem. Nobody in his wildest dreams would ever have imagined that taxation on lump sum superannuation payments would be so increased that the top level of taxation is now set at 30 per cent. Of course, I accept that the taxation rate is 15 per cent on sums up to $50,000. However, when we look at the 30 per cent tax we realise that almost a third of lump sum superannuation payments will go to the taxation man.

What incentive will there be for people to put money into superannuation schemes to save for their retirement? I do not think there will be very much incentive at all. I think people will come to the stage of wondering why they should bother to work at all. We all know that the people most affected are the private sector superannuants. They are the people who will have this problem. People who are in the superannuation funds, who decided to take out superannuation during their working lives, look forward to retirement with a degree of comfort and security. These people now realise they are likely to be taxed to this extent on the money they put into superannuation and that is a real problem. Of course, if they invest the money they get from superannuation and receive income on that the taxation man will get a good fair share of that too. Such people probably wish they had spent up big so that they could now get a pension instead of losing so much of their superannuation.

The Government has said that it wants to prevent people abusing the system by taking a lump sum superannuation payment, investing it in a non-producing way and then claiming the pension. I wonder why the remainder of people who are honest about their superannuation should be penalised in the way suggested by the Government. I believe that those who are abusing the system are spoiling it for the majority who are not. Certainly in this regard I feel that the Government is inconsistent. We see the Government cracking down on people who have worked hard and who have saved and put their money into superannuation funds while in so many cases there is no crackdown on people who abuse the social security system. Only the other day I received a letter detailing some abuses of the social security system. I wonder at whom the Government is aiming these changes to the lump sum superannuation scheme. It is really the people who have worked and saved to provide for themselves and their families. I feel that because of legislation such as this the Australian Labor Party and the Labor Government can really be called tax gatherers. They are tax gatherers not just federally. Even the State of Queensland has now been advised by the New South Wales and Victorian governments that they want Queensland to put a new tax on cigarettes and petroleum products.

We have here too the repudiation of the Government's promise that it would not put a 30 per cent tax on lump sum superannuation payments. This will tax the people who are trying to look after themselves and who do not want to be a slug on the taxpayer. It seems to me, and no doubt to many Australians, particularly those who will have to pay the 30 per cent tax on their lump sum superannuation payments, that the Hawke Government has, to say the least, got its priorities wrong when it comes to taxing the productive sector of our economy and ignoring the unproductive sector. Of course, I realise that probably all the talk here this evening is futile because the Government has made up its mind. However, if we support the Australian Democrats amendment, together we may be able to make some changes to the legislation. But I want to take this opportunity to register my protest for I know that the 30 per cent tax on superannuation is a tax on those who have worked hard to help in the development of Australia.