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Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Page: 13976


Mr TIM WILSON (Goldstein) (19:44): The Goldstein electorate is one of people who are proud and who have stood on their own two feet, worked and sacrificed so that they can be independent at all stages of life. Yes, we have lots of entrepreneurs and young business people who are making a wicket of it. They're going off; they might be getting educated and going into the professional services sector. We have a lot of people who create jobs and opportunities for other Australians so that they can realise their dreams too. We're a community of lifters.

Of course, one of the key reasons why people lift so hard for themselves and for others is so that they can be independent in their retirement. And one of the critical focuses of many of the constituents that I have the privilege to represent is that they want to be independent in retirement so they can make choices—so that they can make informed decisions about their future and so that they can make sure they stand on their own two feet.

This is one of the reasons why they are so angry about Labor's attempts to impose a retirement tax. What I hear all the time is, 'Oh, it's not a tax.' Well, I'm sorry—people need to go back and look at basic economics. A franking credit is a tax credit; that's all it is. It's a tax credit, tax paid; if you remove the credit, all you've got is tax paid. We have 11,000 constituents in the Goldstein electorate who are going to be impacted directly should there be a change in the law and, of course, many of them have a written to me and spoken to parliamentary committees or inquiries, or made submissions.

Take David, from Goldstein, who wrote in his submission: 'My wife and I set up our self-managed superannuation fund a decade ago. The franked dividends make up about one-third of our modest revenue from the fund. If we were not to receive the franked dividends our income would be inadequate for our modest lifestyle. I do not know how we would manage with this reduced income. It is totally unfair to suggest that this tax is reasonable, and we don't have the time or the resources to restructure.'

What we hear time and time again around the country is this story. Of course, it's matched only by the arrogance of the shadow Treasurer, who, when asked about the matter, said:

I say to your listeners, if they feel very strongly about this, if they feel that this is something which should impact on their vote, they are of course perfectly entitled to vote against us.

Now, that is, of course, true. And the good people of Goldstein always know that their federal representative is on their side and standing up for them, despite the attempts of others. But what makes me angry isn't just the imposition of this massive tax; it's the regressive nature of this tax—the deeply unjust and inequitable nature of this tax.

We just need to look at the analysis that was done by Plato Investments. They presented to the Economics Committee as part of the current inquiry. What did it show? People who have $30,000 in income could be exposed to losing nearly a third of their income—a third! And yet, ironically, as you move further up the scale, you lose a smaller share of your return. This tax is a tax on the poor. Even worse than that, it disproportionately hits women, who retire on lower balances than men. It is just incredible to think that somebody could design a tax that seeks to push 85-year-olds down the financial stairs. This is disgraceful.

More than that, there are so many silent victims of this attempt at a tax rate. Go and talk to the families who make modest savings and investments to support their children with a disability so that they can be independent, should their parents face unfortunate circumstances. What we see all the time are people who have done the right thing to support themselves and their families, or, in some cases, others, who are going to suffer the direct impacts.

This election is going to be about this issue. It goes to the heart of the character of the country we are. And Labor is on the wrong side of it.