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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1412

Senator ABETZ (Tasmania) (15:23): Labor's promotion of its ugly politics of envy seems to know no bounds. Jealousy and envy motivates Labor's policy settings these days, and that undermines the virtues on which our nation's success was built. Indeed, as Australia's great Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies opined in his Forgotten People speech:

If the motto is to be, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you will die, and if it chances you don't die, the State will look after you; but if you don't eat, drink and be merry, and save, we shall take your savings from you", then the whole business of life will become foundationless.

Wasn't he so right? And what he has shown is exactly what the Australian Labor Party are seeking to descend Australian society into.

The simple fact is that there are many hundreds of thousands of men and women right around Australia that have scrimped and saved to ensure that they are self-reliant in retirement. And what are the Labor Party seeking to do? Deny them the benefits and the rewards of that thrift and that self-reliance. We, in the coalition, want to build this nation by encouraging the virtues of thrift, savings and self-reliance, but Labor today seeks to tear down those virtues with scant regard for the actual consequences.

Senator Ketter suggested that the Labor policy on tax credits in relation to the shareholdings of pensioners and superannuants was responsible and well considered, and that the facts were on the table. Let me put one fact on the table. I wonder who said this: 'We will now complete the implementation of the imputation system by allowing excess credits to be funded to resident Australian shareholders, complying superannuation funds and registered charitable organisations.' Further on, it continues: 'Many thousands of pensioners who have modest investments in public companies currently obtain no tax benefit from the franked dividends they receive. The full value of these credits will now flow through to the pensioner shareholders.' That was the Australian Labor Party policy, in a bipartisan way, only 20 years ago. Men and women around Australia, on that basis—

Senator McAllister: Things have changed.

Senator ABETZ: The current Labor leadership in the Senate seeks to scoff at that, but people in their 40s and 50s, relying on that promise, scrimped and saved and organised their retirement income and lifestyle on the basis of that promise, only to have this current Labor leadership, which is motivated by jealousy and envy and class warfare, rip this rug out from underneath them. Those retirees, on the promises made by the Labor Party 20 years ago, ordered their retirement funds and income accordingly. The Labor Party in this place will scoff, but the simple fact is that, unless we as a community and a society are willing to support and salute those who are willing to help themselves, the burden becomes much greater on everybody else. That is why Robert Menzies was so right when he said: if you don't provide encouragement and if you instead say to people, 'If you save, if you set money aside and if you invest in Australian companies in the hope of receiving a retirement income, the government will snatch it away from you,' why would they bother investing in Australian companies? Why would you bother looking after yourself in retirement? You can just rely on all your fellow Australian taxpayers. You know what happens? You can have the tax grab today, but that is like killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. You will get the extra golden egg for one day, but the cost will be quite substantial in the years to come. That is why Labor's policy is so divisive and so short-sighted and needs to be rejected.