Budget 2016-17 – confusion over Government tax plans

Frustration is mounting over the Government’s lack of clarity on tax plans.

Taxation think bubble

Coalition backbenchers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of clarity surrounding the Government’s tax plans and are calling for the Prime Minster and Treasurer to shed some light on the way forward.

While Labor’s plan to reform negative gearing is under attack from Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minster hasn’t ruled out changes to the much-maligned scheme by the Government itself. He has said that some details will be revealed before the 2016-17 Federal Budget but MPs would like to know what’s going on sooner rather than later. According to the ABC’s AM program, one MP has come out and said, “We simply don’t know what’s going on.” Others expect an update when Treasurer Scott Morrison meets the Economic Policy Committee this morning or for the issue to be discussed in the party room meeting.

Several Coalition MPs hope that the Prime Minster will announce that there will be no changes to negative gearing but WA Senator Chris Black said the timing was up to Mr Turnbull. "I don't see any reason at all to change the negative gearing processes," he said. "A very significant number of moderate income people in our Australian community negatively gear property and I think it is a very sound investment.” He went on to add, "The Prime Minister doesn't need to be spooked by the Opposition or by commentators into what his position and our position is going to be," he said.

Pressure to leave negative gearing rules untouched could mean changes to superannuation rules are becoming more likely. A few options have been floated, such as lowering from $300,000 to $250,000 the income threshold at which tax on super contributions increases. However, it seems that the most likely change would be to tax superannuation contributions at an individual’s tax rate, with a discount of 15 per cent.

Read more at ABC.net.au


Opinion: Tax confusion a super problem

It would be fair to say that the Government appears to be at sixes and sevens with regards to tax plans, in particular what will be counted in and out at the 1016-17 Federal Budget. Such confusion is bad news for superannuation and those trying to plan their retirement.

Superannuation has long been an easy target for governments to tinker with – partly due to the fact that the system is complex and many people don’t understand what the changes will actually mean for them and, given it’s a long-term savings plan, many people don’t focus on their superannuation as a here and now issue.

By contrast, the benefits to negative gearing are very much immediate for those using the scheme to offset costs for large savings on tax.

And this is a real issue when it comes to saving for our retirement future. Money locked away in superannuation will do its job, that is to provide an income stream for those in retirement, whereas money ploughed into investments that benefit from negative gearing may only pay dividends now, unless they are long term and good investments from the outset.

If the Government really is trying to future-proof our economy against the rising costs of an older population, of which providing an Age Pension is apparently one (although this is questionable), then leave superannuation alone.   

Consideration should also be given to reviewing the freeze on any increase to the superannuation guarantee, a cost that is largely borne by employers, but by keeping it at 9.25 per cent the Government claims it is saving money.

Just as it is for individuals, superannuation is not just a pot of money you can dip into when you’re feeling the financial pinch and the Government would do well to remember that.

Do you think superannuation changes make more sense than changing negative gearing rules? Do you understand the long-term effects of changes to superannuation? Should the Government be able to announce its tax plans in its own time? Or do you get a sense that there really are no firm plans in place?

Other articles:

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    COMMENTS

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    *Imagine*
    29th Feb 2016
    10:29am
    Imagine a rubbish tip with circling gulls and other opportunistic fauna all wanting a bit of the action.
    Now imagine the tip as a pile of trillions of superannuation dollars being circled by Government Gulls and various crooks, advisors and self appointed experts. These opportunistic meddlers just cannot resist the pull of that heap of cash. As the pool gets bigger, the situation will get worse. They will not leave it alone and the bigger it gets the more take that they will want.
    I wonder if it is all worthwhile, I might just cash mine in and invest the proceeds somewhere where there are fewer gulls.
    libsareliars
    29th Feb 2016
    1:32pm
    Hear hear, I don't trust them one little bit.
    the_Albert
    29th Feb 2016
    10:37am
    "... WA Senator Chris Black said the timing was up to Mr Turnbull. 'I don't see any reason at all to change the negative gearing processes,' he said. 'A very significant number of moderate income people in our Australian community negatively gear property and I think it is a very sound investment.'” Bit of a non sequitur there: the fact that it's a sound investment doesn't mean that it should continue when it results in big losses to the revenue or other adverse consequences.

    I'd love to acquire property through negative gearing but I can't because I pay no or negligible tax, yet I'm affected by the government's loss of revenue. Is there any social value in negative gearing apart from personally benefiting a narrow class of people who can afford to purchase another property?
    buby
    29th Feb 2016
    11:41am
    YES I can't afford to buy property either. The prices are way over the top, to a point of ridiculous.
    So i'm stuck in a rental rut! But Chris black is right, ppl are investing in our property, and you know the Government should do exactly the same thing. INvest in US NOT on the stock market where they will lose millions when it crashes......
    Isn't that what you would do if your running your budget at home.
    If you have paid your bills, then you have some left over stash it, or invest, let it accumulate, buy property, or splash.
    Me thinks they Splash and waste more than they are making, and when it all goes wrong, they are like little kids, and come to us looking for more!!! How about deducting from your own pockets???
    NOT very good budgeters in the Gov. I reckon?
    MICK
    29th Feb 2016
    12:33pm
    There may be a case for establishing a threshold above which negative gearing is not accessible. One which cannot be rorted by the rich. They will try. They always do.
    Gra
    29th Feb 2016
    3:29pm
    Another property and then another, and another and so it goes, getting wealthier and wealthier at other peoples expense.
    Anonymous
    1st Mar 2016
    7:41am
    So, negative geared property is ''a sound investment'', but ONLY if the poor over-burdened taxpayers (including those who can't afford to invest in property) contribute their hard-earned dollars to make up the losses so the lucky investor can enjoy more wealth later on - wealth that will probably be tax exempt due to buying yet another negatively-geared property or into some other tax minimization program. Yep. That sounds like LNP logic to me.
    mogo51
    29th Feb 2016
    10:42am
    What your comments fail to address is the need to fix the economy. Rich people who use the Super system to reduce their tax obligations are just making the task more difficult for the Government to 'balance the books'. If everything if off the menu, then where do they go to try to get our economy out of debt and more prosperous for all - not just the rich.
    There should be no tax initiatives for amounts above the 'accepted' level of a 'comfortable' retirement, that is a life choice decision for the contributor to make.
    Why GST was taken off the table is a mystery? Well no, a political survival decision is the truth - lets not worry what is best for the country.
    The fact that this Government has not come to a decision at this late stage,is a disgrace.
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    12:11pm
    I agree with your comments about the super system. It's NOT helping to fund retirement to give huge concessions to high income earners - who can fund their own retirement anyway, without that help - and to deny battlers the help they desperately need to be more independent.

    The super system is just plain WRONG. It's unfair and it's unworkable and it's cheating society out of any opportunity to achieve the stated objectives. It needs to be changed NOW. The problem is that this government is too committed to lining the pockets of the greedy rich and doesn't care about what is good for the nation.

    As to GST, it SHOULD be left alone. It's a regressive and unfair tax that hurts those with the least and taxes the rich most lightly.
    MICK
    29th Feb 2016
    12:36pm
    Our system has many anomalies which have been specifically put there for the rich, not for average citizens. The tax deductibility for superannuation is one such out for the rich. Whilst average citizens also use this the real benefits go to those with big incomes. It is they for which the system was put in place. The same is true for negative gearing.
    mogo51
    29th Feb 2016
    10:51am
    I believe high end superannuation, negative gearing limitations and GST should all be not only on the agenda, but implemented to get our country out of the appalling debt left behind by the Labor Government. This in turn, will create a more appealing environment for commercial and business expansion which relates to jobs.
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    12:14pm
    Labor didn't leave an appalling debt, mogo51. Howard and Costello created the debt by giving huge tax concessions and rebates away, of which 80% benefited high income earners. Sadly, Labor couldn't reverse those gifts without being immediately kicked out.

    The GST should NOT be increased. That's making the battlers pay the tax the wealthy should be paying. It's regressive and an increase will kill demand - which needs to be increased, not destroyed.

    We definitely need a change to tax concessions on super, and negative gearing should be heavily restricted. Let's help those who NEED help to fund their retirement, not the greedy who already have bucket-loads more than they need!
    MICK
    29th Feb 2016
    12:41pm
    Appalling debt left by Labor government? Have you had a look at what the current government has run up on the tab lately? And there is NO GFC to contend with. But that did not stop Abbott and his cronies removing the debt ceiling and also repealing the Carbon Tax....which now sees TAXPAYERS pay the polluters $8 billion dollars a year whilst they continue to pollute. Direct Action???? A title for the feeble minded to believe in. Not happening!
    So let's not post troll comments. Funny how the above commenters NEVER mention what their this government has done whilst trying to destroy every bit of good the previous 2 governments out into place. What's the definition of criminal behaviour?
    libsareliars
    29th Feb 2016
    1:35pm
    Agree with Rainey and mick's points - mog51 you are ill informed.
    roy
    29th Feb 2016
    3:36pm
    Well said mogo51, what's the daily interest on the debt that those useless ALP bozos left behind?
    ex PS
    29th Feb 2016
    10:26pm
    I have seen very little evidence of the current government doing anything to fix the debt problem. Actually haven't they been telling everyone who will listen that the economy is doing just fine.
    Can anyone enlighten me , the governemt says that the ALP left the economy in dire straits, they have done nothing to fix the problem, yet they state that the economy is doing fine, by what feat of magic did the LNP fix the economy?????
    Anonymous
    1st Mar 2016
    7:29am
    By claiming (untruthfully) a saving of $2.4 billion by demolishing the retirement plans of 330,000 retirees who saved but were shattered by falling investment returns, and who are now worse off than if they hadn't saved, and by doing enormous damage to our public health and education systems, ex PS. The latter, of course, will be blamed on the States and the states will increase taxes and cut expenditure (eg. benefit for pensioners) and the Feds will keep claiming not to be responsible for the hurt they have caused. But they will NEVER fix the economy, because that would require making their precious rich buddies pay fair taxes, and that's just not on. When you can't do the job, the only politically acceptable approach is to lie and claim you have done it, and pray a lot of people are dumb enough to believe the lie!
    ex PS
    1st Mar 2016
    8:40am
    Rainey, you forgot the most important element used by most incompetent new managers for time imamorial. Blame every thing on the last entity in charge.
    They got into government by inventing a problem (Unmanagable Debt) and making a claim that only they could fix it. Of course you can't fix a problem that does not exist so you have to magically make it go away, unfortunatley for them their devotees keep talking about the problem that didn't exist and causing embarrasment to the party that they blindley follow.
    How they can claim a financial disaster and then decline to recover fair shares of tax from their major source of political donations beggars belief.
    It seems that this governments strategy is to subsidise big business at the expense of retirees and low income earners.
    Rosscoe
    29th Feb 2016
    11:27am
    Don't expect too much from Malcolm Turnaround, and you won't be disappointed. Don't forget - he was the man who messed up the NBN and believed that liar, Godwin Gretch. His judgement is appalling.
    Polly Esther
    29th Feb 2016
    12:21pm
    you're not wrong there.
    I think the ' leering ' lunatic is intent on doing us slowly.
    This man has been tried before as a 'leader' and failed, and I don't think he has improved any since then.
    He just has a sharper knife.
    MICK
    29th Feb 2016
    12:42pm
    Different PM. Same Party. Same agenda. Same owners.
    Jim
    29th Feb 2016
    11:38am
    Maybe I don't understand negative gearing, but my understanding is that if a person borrows money to purchase a property, then rents that property out, at the end of the year the borrower adds the income from the property to their other income less the ammount it costs to service the debt (interest ) less any maintainence incurred for the rented property. If the income from the property is more than the cost to the borrower then the borrower must pay tax on that income that is above the cost to service the loan, if the income is less than the cost to service the loan then the borrower is entitled to claim on offset in tax from any other income. Isn't that how all buisness operate. I am not sure how the capital gain works when you sell the property, that's if you make a capital gain, but I assume that you would have to pay a capital gain on 50% of the gain if you held the investment for more than 12 months as is the case with shares. If I am correct in my assumptions then I don't see a difference between investments in property and shares. I know making assumptions can make you look like a fool sometimes, is that the case here?
    Tom Tank
    29th Feb 2016
    11:48am
    John Howard reduced the Capital Gains Tax on investment properties to 25%.
    MICK
    29th Feb 2016
    12:46pm
    In the past the value of shares and property rose rapidly. In essence investors bet that when they sold they would make a handsome gain and only pay tax on half of the gain. Not a bad deal. Along the way the investment ran at a loss and this was deductible against taxable income. Those on the top marginal rate loved it. That's why they are crying tears of blood as Labor is suggesting that government support of this system (a la the taxpayer) is wound back. Can't turn off the tap can we now.................
    Tom Tank
    29th Feb 2016
    11:46am
    There is an incredible display of inertia by Turnbull and could it be because he knows what should be done but he also knows that the financial backers of the LNP will not tolerate that necessary action being taken.
    Australian politics is very much driven by financial donations and these donors are well hidden due to our ridiculous laws governing the identity of those donors.
    "He/she who pays the piper calls the tune" and we cannot be sure if the tune, ie decisions made, are to suit a particular donor and we should know. I think those who are not rusted on to a particular political party can sense the bias and dare one say the payoff for donations.
    It is very sad to realise that Australia has gone down this path but it certainly has and it will take a brave politician to stamp it out.
    MICK
    29th Feb 2016
    12:49pm
    Great post Tom. Precisely on the money.
    We should all be allowed to see whose money is buying electoral seats because this is not free money. It has to be paid back WITH FAVOURABLE LEGISLATION. I would call that corruption of the highest level by any other word.
    Electoral funding/bribery needs to be outlawed. It is corruption!
    Happy cyclist
    29th Feb 2016
    1:17pm
    Got to agree with Mick and Tom Tank.
    libsareliars
    29th Feb 2016
    1:37pm
    Got to agree with Mick and Tom Tank - Happy cyclist
    Me too!
    Gra
    29th Feb 2016
    3:36pm
    If only ALL the coalition donors were as visible as Rupert Murdoch. Wouldn't that be something to see.

    29th Feb 2016
    12:19pm
    Debbie McTaggart says ''If the Government really is trying to future-proof our economy against the rising costs of an older population, of which providing an Age Pension is apparently one (although this is questionable), then leave superannuation alone.''

    WRONG, Debbie. The huge cost we face is NOT to fund the Age Pension. Superannuation tax concessions will soon cost far more than the total age pension bill - $50 billion! And 80% of the benefit goes to those who are so wealthy that they will NEVER need an aged pension. So it's just plain STUPID and UNFAIR to continue giving away those concessions when the country clearly can't afford it.

    The tax concessions on super need to be adjusted so that they benefit the battlers - helping those who need help to build a retirement nest egg. High income earners should NOT get tax concessions to hoard cash to pass on to their heirs.

    People have demanded that pensioners not be allowed to leave money to heirs, but given only enough to barely get by on while living and forced to hand back assets on their death. Yet those same people seem intent on handing bucket-loads of taxpayers' cash to the rich to leave to their heirs. Why? It's unfair. It's morally wrong. And it's economically and socially destructive.

    Change the super system NOW to take concessions back from the well-to-do and give more to the battlers.
    MICK
    29th Feb 2016
    12:52pm
    Perhaps Debbie has been reading too many government memos.
    The reality is that there is more than enough money to fund the age pension if governments closed loopholes for the wealthy and their big business interests and collected taxes as they do from ordinary citizens. The reality is that they refuse to touch rich peoples' rorts and outs. So who is running the country????? Average Australians???? Not on your life!
    Retired Knowall
    29th Feb 2016
    4:37pm
    Yes spot on, lets prop the dead beats and raid the rich until we are all on welfare. I have never read so much tripe in one forum as this. If you clowns are so bright, how come you all have your snouts in the welfare trough?
    roy
    29th Feb 2016
    6:12pm
    Spot on Retired Knowall, the envy of the not so well off is sickening, mainly jealously because they didn't work hard and study hard and spent their money on pokies, beer cigarettes and tattoos, I'm sick of it.
    They waddle around many kilos overweight and have the cheek to tell me I'm lucky because I'm not a fatty, sheesh.
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    6:40pm
    What crap, Retired Knowall. I am not suggesting for an instant that the government ''prop the dead beats and raid the rich until we are all on welfare''. I am saying they should stop throwing money at the rich to hoard for no benefit to the nation and start rewarding the hard workers who struggle to save enough for retirement, despite working all their lives, paying taxes, and managing money carefully.

    We can't end completely the payments to dead beats. And we certainly don't want to ''raid'' the rich (although the middle class and upper working class are certainly being raided!)

    If we introduce a FAIR system of superannuation tax concessions that reduces the obscene handouts to high income earners and gives a little more to battlers (i.e. stop giving the fattest concession to those who earn most and the smallest to those who earn least) we could reduce the welfare bill and make a lot more people independent in retirement.

    $50 billion in tax concessions with 80% going to the richest 20% is just obscene, and it's BAD MANAGEMENT. And only the greediest of fat cats who benefit unfairly would agree with continuing it.

    Giving a 30%+ tax concession to high income earners and between none and 15% to low income earners cannot be justified unless you are among the greedy high income earners who have no conscience.

    BTW. It appears we have two Micks? One of them must be a greedy rich fat cat! (The one agreeing with Retired Knowall)
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    8:23pm
    Actually, Retired Knowall, we are far more likely to INCREASE the number of ''dead beats'' and the welfare bill if we keep overindulging the rich and trying to bleed every day hard workers of everything they earn.

    We need incentives for people to work and pay tax and live responsibly. There are already plenty of incentives for people who have the ability to get wealthy. It's the workers and middle-income earners who are being totally screwed over and are starting to wonder why they bother. Honestly, if I had my time over, I'd spend up big and party and retire with half what I have now and a full pension. I'd be way better off!

    Yes, greedy well-to-do, keep up the greed and watch the welfare bill skyrocket and the nation collapse. There's plenty of incentive to be a dead beat, but very little, now to work hard and save. And the LNP seems determined to keep trying to bleed stones to buy champagne and caviar for their bloated mates.
    ex PS
    29th Feb 2016
    10:47pm
    There are countries in Europe like The Netherlands that fund huge education, health and community programs through its national super system. They can do this because since the 1950's the politicians have supported a national super system and have maanged to keep thier thieving hands off the funds. If only Australia had politicians with the same integrity we could be a whole lot better off.
    The way things are going the Super Annuation system in this country will fall apart and people will be working untill they die to survive. This will suit the rich very well because it will provide them with cheap labour and a true slave class to push around.
    I retired early because I was able to plan for it, with all the changes going on I will probably end up on a part pension, something that I did not plan for.
    My big decision now is, do I scrimp on lifestyle and stave off going onto a pension for as long as I can, or do I blow the money as fast as I can and take taxpayers money? There is really little incentive to put extra money into super in order to take control of your own future if a thieving government is forever thinking of new ways to getts hands on your money.
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    10:58pm
    I agree, ex PS. This is precisely what I've been saying. The govt. is bleeding the hard worker who tries to save and be independent. Many of us would have been independent if not for the huge economic downturn and resulting low investment returns. Then the government cuts pensions so that those who didn't save as much are actually better off, and the plans of many who worked hard are shot to pieces. Where's the incentive to strive? There is none.

    Making the superannuation tax concessions fairer - by reducing concessions for high income earners - would not disadvantage anyone substantially, but could boost the total tax take and allow the government to restore incentives, take better care of the genuinely needy, and provide better services. It just makes good sense, but sadly it's unlikely under this government because the LNP are slaves to their rich funders.

    I suspect quite a few, like you ex PS, will be thinking they might just as well blow their savings quickly having a good time. The way this government is carrying on, the next move is likely to wipe out the benefit of a nest egg completely!
    Retired Knowall
    1st Mar 2016
    4:26pm
    You are so right Mick, Their idea of a fairer system is one where they get a free ride. If you read their dribble you would think they had all the answers, but on closer scrutiny it become obvious they have no idea of the complexities of financial matters. I know I started at the bottom of the socio economic ladder, worked hard at two jobs and applied sound financial principals. Now at 68 I am self funded and pretty well off. The rich people I know all worked hard and took some risk to get where they are, some employ up to 70 people. None of them bemoan the tax they pay, but they along with me are amused at the self righteous entitled mentality espoused on this site. Again, if they were so smart, how come they have to rely on welfare?
    Anonymous
    1st Mar 2016
    9:06pm
    Wrong again, Retired Knowall. Very few of the battler class want a free ride. Plenty of the wealthier do!

    The fairer system is one where the rich pay a fair tax for the enormous resource value they enjoy. Employ 70 people? That 70 people who drive on public roads to and from work, were educated in public schools, enjoy public health if their income is too low to cover private health costs, are entitled to taxpayer-funded disability and sickness payments. That's 70 people who will get taxpayer-funded aged pensions if their wages are too low to enable them to self-funded retirement. It's 70 people who are paid a fraction of what their contribution to their employer's profit is really worth (if the employer is running a profitable business). That employer makes extensive use of public shipping ports and public communication systems and power systems. He makes extensive use of government systems that administer licenses, workplace laws, consumer protection legislation. It goes on and on. And all that has to be paid for. But most of the well-to-do I know expect the working class to foot the bill. They rant about ''creating jobs'' as if that entitles them to enjoy huge profits without paying for the resources they use to generate those profits.

    I'm so sick of the greedy rich ranting about the ''entitled''. Yes, the aged, sick, and disabled ARE entitled. Most are not dumb. They are on welfare because they weren't blessed with good health, or they suffered major disadvantage at some stage in life and for whatever reason, couldn't access the assistance needed to overcome the challenges they faced.

    Yes, there are some dumb and useless in our society. They are a tiny minority. The number who are disadvantaged as a result of exploitation and corruption by the privileged is a million times higher. A great many who are on welfare are very intelligent, very skilled, hard workers, honest and decent, but their educational disadvantage or physical disability restricts their capacity to earn in a society that doesn't value work very fairly at all.

    I'm 65 and I also worked my way up from the bottom of the socio-economic ladder - an orphan married to an orphan with no education or family support and no opportunity, a disabled child who cost me hundreds of thousands, poor health, a partner who suffered a debilitating work accident (with no compo because of loyalty to a relative who caused it). I too worked my way up to employing people and having substantial retirement savings. But unlike you, I'm NOT self-righteous, and neither am I a condescending snob with no empathy or respect for decent, hardworking, honest people who haven't had the good fortune you and I have enjoyed.

    If you were just a little smarter, you'd see that our society is cruel and unfair and many people suffer crippling misfortunes through no fault of their own - often misfortunes that wouldn't happen if the more privileged had more decency and integrity. (If that statement weren't true, there wouldn't be a Royal Commission hearing in Rome right now!)

    I can tell you from first hand experience that at least 50% of those on welfare are way smarter and more capable than 50% of high income earners. It's the structure of society and accidents of birth that hold most people back - not lack of intelligence. But it takes considerable intelligence to recognize that, and very little to beat your chest, gloat and sneer at the less fortunate.
    Retired Knowall
    2nd Mar 2016
    5:15pm
    Oh dear Rainey, you are misguided and backward looking.
    I'm not rich, just comfortable due to over 50 years of work. You seem to think anyone well off was either lucky or corrupt. Well I found that the harder I worked, the luckier I got and the more the drones around me became envious. I have found that people need a hand up not a hand out. Your posts are full of fallacies, e.g." at least 50% of those on welfare are way smarter and more capable than 50% of high income earners", and accidents of birth that hold most people back.
    What utter rot, There are many refugees that came here from their war torn countries with nothing, worked hard and established businesses and are now well off. And you write about my hard working friend who has 70 employees as if it's a bad thing because they drive on public roads and are educated by the Public School system, Yes they do and they are 70 more tax payers that help support that system. I agree the current system is not fair, but it's not fair from both sides . Continually attacking the so called rich wont solve the problem. You need to educate yourself on the movement of Capital. Ask yourself why we no longer have a manufacturing industry, Clothing industry, car Industry. I suppose you will blame the greedy industrialists.
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:39pm
    Retired Knowall, I'm neither misguided nor backward looking, and I certainly don't think anyone well off was either lucky or corrupt, though a large portion of the well off were lucky, and a significant portion are corrupt. Yes, many people find the harder they work the luckier they get. I did. But equally, many smart, hard working people have bad luck that is beyond anyone's control. And yes, 50% of those on welfare ARE smarter and more capable than 50% of high income earners. There are a lot of incompetent idiots in high paid positions, sadly. And there are some smart people who just never got a decent break in life. Accidents of birth DO hold people back, often. So do accidents of life. Of course refugees come here with nothing and work hard and end up well off. And equally, Australians who had very tough beginnings work hard and end up well off. And people who suffer disabling accidents or crippling chronic illnesses, who are widowed with children and debts, who give birth to children with serious disabilities, etc. often struggle for a lifetime and just can't get over the hurdles. It's not their fault, and to scorn them is disgusting.
    I don't need to educate myself on the movement of capital. I know a great deal about it. I ran businesses. I watched our manufacturing industry collapse and mourned the loss, and I know a lot about the causes of collapse. And having 70 employees is certainly a very good thing. But you miss the point. That employer benefits immensely from national resources PAID FOR BY TAXPAYERS. He pays his workers less than they earn for him (otherwise he'd make no profit). At some point, the capitalists MUST acknowledge that we need a strong social welfare safety net in order to have a healthy society, and it has to be paid for by those who CAN pay for it - those who benefit most from a healthy society.

    I'm not suggesting we bring the rich down. I'm merely saying that the system now is grossly unfair and the unfairness is doing both social and economic harm and it needs to be fixed. There is an obvious fix. That is, to stop giving huge tax concessions to people who have absolutely no need of them, at the expense of people who DO need help to save for their retirement.

    We will not solve anything by constantly blaming and punishing the have-nots for a situation created by the haves. (Well, the have-nots sure don't make the laws! They are made by the rich for the benefit of the rich.)

    What we need in our society is balance. We need incentives and rewards for the hard working battlers. We need the well off to make a fair and equitable contribution to the maintenance of a healthy society. If we have balance, we have more willing workers, more diligent savers, more opportunity for those who want to take advantage of it, and a better safety net for those who need it. And yes, less bludgers. Because bludging is a result of a perception of hopelessness - a belief that it's no use working because you will never get anywhere. You obviously never suffered the kind of devastating and utterly soul destroying experiences that create that perception. Lucky you! I can tell you from first hand experience that it is the most agonizingly painful suffering anyone can endure. And more and more people are going to experience it if we keep telling workers they must work until their body gives out and they die, and there will be no pensions, or they must give their house to the government for a pension. Or there will be more and more of it if we keep telling people they have to save for retirement, and then taking it all away from them to give to people who didn't and to people who never needed to because they were always well off. There will be more and more of it if we keep giving mega-billions in tax dollars to the wealthy to top up their super and acquire negatively geared property, while giving the poor NOTHING to help them get ahead and then condemning them for needing help in old age.
    You quote anecdotal evidence to claim a general truth, but you are wrong. The anecdotal evidence may prove that Jack, who remained healthy, didn't have a debilitating accident, wasn't widowed, etc. could work hard and succeed. It doesn't prove anything about Joe who was left widowed with four little kids, a mortgage and hire purchase commitments that he was managing just fine with his wife's income to help. It doesn't prove anything about Fred, who suffered a crippling accident. It doesn't prove anything about John, who suffers PTSD and chronic depression after horrific abuse and deprivation of affection in an institution as a child, and then being sent to see horrors in war, and then, at 28, being told his hard-earned professional qualifications are worthless because they were obtained in the military and he can't work at anything but labouring, despite being of high intelligence and a professional orchestral musician by trade.
    You've obviously been lucky - hard working, yes, but lucky to be ABLE to be hard working.
    Nobody is constantly attacking the rich here. We are merely asking for the rich to PAY THEIR SHARE and STOP BLUDGING ON THE BATTLERS and BLAMING THE LESS FORTUNATE.

    Stop demanding that battlers who can't afford investment property subsidize your losses on your investments. Stop claiming 30c in the dollar tax concession on super while struggling low-paid get 15c or nothing. Stop rorting the tax system by stashing money in tax havens overseas or using questionable cross-border loan transactions.

    And STOP the vile insults directed at people who, despite being smart and hard working, can't achieve financial independence because of misfortune.
    Retired Knowall
    3rd Mar 2016
    9:29am
    "Honestly, if I had my time over, I'd spend up big and party and retire with half what I have now and a full pension. I'd be way better off!"
    One of your comments from these posts says it all about you, eh.
    ex PS
    3rd Mar 2016
    10:02am
    Of course they will not touch rich people, who do you think their voter base comes from.
    I agree with Retired Knowall, in hindsight I would have spent all my money on fine cigars, aged cognac and fast cars. My reward for thinking of my own future is being vilified and ripped off by the government.
    My parents were imigrants, they came here with about $200.00 in the bank and worked at any job they could find. They taught us to look after ourselves and not to depend on others for anything.
    I retired early because I planned for it and worked hard to put myself in a position to do so.
    When I left the Public Service I was middle stream management and earning a good salary, but I started at the lowest level there was and actually worked my way up. Do not assume that all self funded retirees are privalidged or wealthy, a lot of them have just learnt how to manage their money.
    I have no problem with helping people less fotunate just as long as they are trying to help themselves.
    Anonymous
    6th Mar 2016
    4:30pm
    ''One of your comments from these posts says it all about you, eh.''

    What are you saying, RetiredKnowall? That I should be charitable and forego everything I worked for to give it all to a the government so they can squander it? Yes, I do wish I'd spent up big, because the government has stolen everything I earned to give to people who lived the high life, gifted generously before age 60, plunged millions into expensive family homes, or are on high incomes and have access to immoral rorts to reduce the tax they pay to ludicrously low levels.

    I don't, however, begrudge contributing to the welfare of the genuinely disadvantaged. Unlike you, I know that many of welfare are smart, diligent, and honest. The greatest opportunity any of us can enjoy is the opportunity to engage in rewarding work. Those who take that opportunity for granted have neither understanding of nor compassion for those who are denied that chance. And yes, they ARE entitled. But the rich are NOT entitled, morally, to their negative gearing concessions and huge superannuation concessions, nor to the benefits of off-shore investing etc.
    MICK
    29th Feb 2016
    12:31pm
    Is it any surprise that the current government refuses to reveal what is in the budget. The recent trans Pacific Trade Deal is about to be signed AND IS A GOVERNMENT SECRET TOO. Apparently the current deadbeat government thinks we should all be treated like mushrooms: keep us in the dark and feed us sh*t. Sorry!
    My understanding of Labor's Negative Gearing changes are that ONLY NEW ENTRANTS WILL BE AFFECTED and that existing investors will be grandfathered. So what is wrong with that? Oh yes....the big end of town loves negative gearing. One of it's big money spinners. That is why the Turnbull government refuses to address it. Just like the superannuation tax shelter for the rich. Just like multinationals which continue to be allowed to pay almost no tax. Just like overseas Tax Shelters used by the PM and other rich Australians which were set up to pay a tax rate of zero.
    We all need to see the form. This government, as I have repeatedly alleged, is owned by the big end of town to do it's bidding: lower taxes for the already prospering rich and more taxes for average Australians to pay for it. Obscene and against every moral principle this country was set up for.
    Lescol
    29th Feb 2016
    12:52pm
    I am at a loss to understand why negative gearing exists. Tax deductions against property income are fine BUT not against personal income! Little wonder then it exists only in Australia!
    Anonymous
    1st Mar 2016
    7:35am
    It exists to ensure the privileged rich can avoid paying their fair share of tax, Lescol. Plain and simple. The rich make the laws, and they make them to over-indulge their own greed and selfishness. And the LNP won't change the rules because the people that fund their election campaigns are the very people who benefit most from negative gearing rules. Of course the law is wrong, but we can't change it because it would reduce the profits of the privileged who own multiple properties.
    KSS
    29th Feb 2016
    12:53pm
    How about everyone take a deep breath and settle down. Save your energy for when there is something to actually get upset about. All that is happening is people running round like Chicken Little yelling about the sky falling in every time a 'reporter' announces the next thing on the discussion table. Unless you are in the cabinet room during said discussions, you have no more idea about what is on/off the table than anyone else or reasons for the agenda item. Don't you get tired of constantly jumping to conclusions and rushing to object at every utterance?

    I just wish the Government had the courage to do what's best for Australia without constantly worrying about who they might upset and pandering to every pressure group that happens along.
    toto
    29th Feb 2016
    1:29pm
    There is income from personal exertion (wages and or business income) where expenses to earn it are allowed as tax deductions. Business expenses may exceed income and create a loss which is carried forward. Income from property (rent, interest) should not create a loss. Negative Gearing was brought in specifically to allow the rich to avoid tax otherwise payable from other income sources. This avoided tax is borne by Govt. and paid by the rest of us.
    retroy
    29th Feb 2016
    1:46pm
    A calculation should be done detailing the total tax paid by high income earners over their working lives and put the figure along side the total tax of a worker on the average wage.
    You lefties will be astounded at how much the higher paid worker contributes to this country's well being, but on second thoughts, no, with your only good eye you will see and conclude that it is as it should be, and say it should have been more.
    Even with tax concessions on super these high end salaried people pay far more tax to the country's coffers and you still want to rip more off them.
    Politics based on envy does little good for Australia.
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    2:32pm
    great comment, well said.
    roy
    29th Feb 2016
    3:39pm
    This envy of the "rich' just has no end does it?
    Why do we bother to get educated and get well paid jobs just for envious lazy bogans to run us down?
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    5:18pm
    labor mick, your comment just showed the waste of your education, a bit of advice, get your, more likely your parents, money back because it was well and truly wasted on you!
    roy
    29th Feb 2016
    6:06pm
    Did I say something untoward heemskerk99 if so please enlighten me?
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    7:48pm
    Retroy, the comparison of tax paid between rich and poor is irrelevant. Our tax system is progressive because it recognizes that the rich use a much greater share of national resources than the poor. If we compared the resources used AND the tax paid, we would find that the poor pay far more than the rich for the value returned.

    NOBODY got rich on their own. You started a business that made lots of money. Good for you! You hired people who were educated in public schools. You transported goods on roads paid for by the taxpayer. You used shipping ports and communication and power systems paid for by the taxpayer. You almost certainly paid your workers far less than they earned for you (If you didn't, you were not a good business operator!) and the difference was made up through public services and a welfare system that provided for workers who suffered illness, disability and old age.

    Many high income earners are inept, and have imposed costs and losses on the community with their stuff ups. (I could provide dozens of examples!) Many are grossly overpaid when the poor value they deliver is considered (Consider many politicians, senior bureaucrats, CEOs of companies that go backwards and have to pay a fortune to get rid of an incompetent).

    The social contract requires that higher income earners pay tax to fund the services and future infrastructure that is needed to carry the nation forward - so that the next generation can enjoy a decent lifestyle.

    The alternative, apparently promoted by some of the greedy here, is to allow the rich to pathologically hoard money for no valid purpose, while the nation collapses. Not very intelligent! But sadly, there is no remedy for pathological greed and selfishness, and it has infected our society in a big way!
    roy
    29th Feb 2016
    10:36pm
    It sounds to me like the communist party is getting stronger and stronger in once wonderful Australia going by lots of the posts on here.
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    11:07pm
    Not the communist party getting stronger, Mick. What we have is the rich looking after the rich and the workers being shafted every which way. Now that's the real scenario in communist nations, I know, even though it's NOT consistent with the theory of communism. But I think in Australia it's more deliberate elitism than communism - a deliberate and calculated move to a more feudal system.
    ex PS
    3rd Mar 2016
    10:18am
    Beware Mick, the communist party grows very quickly once the population can see a government acting unfairly. A government that takes from the workers to give to their rich backers is doomed. Wha, ha ha, ha ha.
    Don't forget to check under your bed every night like uncle Joh has told you to make sure they don't drag you off to commo land.
    Aquarian
    29th Feb 2016
    3:33pm
    I have maintained for many years that GST should replace Income Tax. Find a percentage that would do this and simply abolish Income Tax. That way everyone pays tax based on their spending. And surely it would be much more difficult for anyone to avoid paying tax. For example if GST was 20% then you would pay $20,000 on a $100,000 car. If you buy a $15,000 car you would pay $3,000. So instead of pay as you earn, you pay as you buy.
    Aquarian
    29th Feb 2016
    3:34pm
    It would also mean no more tax returns to submit.
    roy
    29th Feb 2016
    3:41pm
    Let's get the ALP back in and we can all go and enjoy hookers and designer clothing on the union credit card.
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    5:22pm
    typical comment from labor mick.
    roy
    29th Feb 2016
    6:14pm
    The truth hurts so much heemskerk99 doesn't it?
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    7:53pm
    Aquarian, the problem with GST replacing income tax is that the lower income earners would pay tax on 100% of their income while the rich paid on only a tiny portion of their income. There is no way you could set the tax at a rate that would raise enough revenue without plunging half the nation into abject poverty. Sure, there are obvious advantages, but it can't work!

    A flat tax with no deductions or concessions, on the other hand, might be somewhat regressive but could work, especially if married with a basic guaranteed income for all. It could also eliminate tax returns for most of the population.
    cdbstock
    29th Feb 2016
    4:09pm
    Aquarian - a very good point re GST. call it a 'Transaction Tax': catch every money transaction - but the rate would only be around 3% - on EVERY transaction - total value of ALL transactions in 2014/15 was approx $1366B - includes internet, bank transfers & bcatchews international organizations such as Google & Apple.
    Of course there would have to be a compensation scheme based on claims with severe penalties for false/inaccurate claims.
    No more tax returns, no tax lawyers/accountants & staff. much smaller ATO, no 'black economy (3% is just not worth the risk). And every none tax concession would be visible from the Budget
    roy
    29th Feb 2016
    6:17pm
    Oh wow, cdbstock, you must be a brain surgeon as your day job, what a brain you've developed over the years.
    Anonymous
    29th Feb 2016
    9:49pm
    My background was in finance and I recall the "experts" saying that the GST would kill the black economy. It flourished. Nothing will kill the black economy but what the GST did was increase the amount collected well in excess of what was predicted because when black money is spent it attracts a GST. So, black money now pays 10% as against 0% previously.

    29th Feb 2016
    9:39pm
    It seems to me that Malcolm wanted the top job to keep Lucy happy but doesn't know what to do now he's there. Has he achieved all his goals already?
    ex PS
    29th Feb 2016
    10:29pm
    Might be simplistic, but I am a simple person, but how about we scrap all tax concessions and make every body pay their fair share of tax.
    roy
    29th Feb 2016
    10:45pm
    How?
    ex PS
    29th Feb 2016
    10:59pm
    I told you I am a simple person.
    We could start with a flat rate of tax that everyone pays regardless of income, but allow no tax refunds. Good luck working out what the rate would be.
    But seriously, I think everybody agrees the tax system needs an overhall, the problem is politicians can't do it because of vested interests on all sides.
    If tax reform is going to go ahead, we need to somehow take politicians out of the loop until a working policy has been constructed, they can then go ahead with implementation.
    There seems to be a trend towards governing via referendum maybe independantly sourced tax plans could be submitted, vetted by Treasury and put to the public for a vote.
    Retired Knowall
    1st Mar 2016
    4:33pm
    Hey ex PS, how would you tax the dole drones?
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:45pm
    Retired Knowall, the unemployed are not ''dole drones''. You are disgusting, condemning people you know nothing about in that vile manner. Sure, a tiny minority of them are drones. But we have at least 1 million less jobs in this country than people wanting them, and being one of the unfortunate million does NOT make you a ''drone''. What sick mentality makes people so contemptuous and lacking in empathy?
    Anonymous
    3rd Mar 2016
    5:57am
    The name he's chosen says it all, doesn't it? ''Retired Knowall''. Thinks he knows everything. In fact, the only thing he knows is how to be arrogant and contemptuous and selfish and blame the victims of society's failures for everything that's wrong in the world.

    Hate the rich? No. What we hate is the way the government is persecuting the disadvantaged to indulge the selfishness and greed of a large proportion of the well-to-do, and the way the beneficiaries of the government's policies come here and attack and blame the victims of unfairness and support continued and increased unfairness.

    Look at the way Retired Knowall insults people he knows nothing about. And then he accuses me of hating the rich, merely for pointing out that they are benefiting from gross unfairness and economically and socially destructive policies.
    ex PS
    3rd Mar 2016
    10:12am
    RK if we are talking Income Tax, by defination income is earned, the dole is not, but they alraedy pay tax through the GST.
    Maybe you have been fortunate all your life and never had to go on the Dole, I am happy for you. But dengirating people who have to get government assistance through in a lot of cases no fault of their own is a pretty low act.
    If my family was not eating because I was out of work I would be a pretty low individual if I refused help because of misguide personal pride and I would condem anyone else who would do so.
    Kato
    1st Mar 2016
    12:48am
    The turn bull should stop his negative campaign.If you remove negative gearing house prices will drop. Christopher Pyne is saying they will rise Kelly Odwyer is saying she is confused. Common ground there. Not.
    ex PS
    1st Mar 2016
    8:55am
    All of these people have one thing in common, they believe that it is more important to hurt their political opponants than to help the Australian people. Unfortunatley politics on both sides is centred around winning the next election rather than doing the job that we pay them to do.
    If I had someone working for me who continually failed to get the job done and used the excuse of " I know what I need to do but so and so won't let me" I would sack them.
    The reason being, part of the skillset required is negotiation skills, when negotiating for outcomes you forget personal pride, you forget debts owed to third partys, you forget three word campaign slogans and you negotiate an outcome that is acceptable to all relevant partys involved.
    Julia Gillard had the same problem with the Senate that Malcolm has, she still managed to get projects approved. Possibly because she wasn't afraid to go against the backroom boys who put her into the leadership role on occasion.
    Hairy
    2nd Mar 2016
    3:42pm
    Rainey you said it all and I agree entirely.knowall would do fine as an lnp candidate.just another insensitive jumped up sorry asshole with no real people in his life.so sad
    Anonymous
    2nd Mar 2016
    9:47pm
    Obviously he has no real life experience, and no interest in learning from anyone who has, Hairy. Sad that there are people like that in our world. Sadder that they are in positions of influence and power, and destroying what used to be a great nation.
    Not Senile Yet!
    4th Mar 2016
    1:42am
    This Liberal Government has not changed it's agenda one iota.....and simply doesn't intend to!
    Why???
    Because it is the Liberal Caucus calling the shots....the back room invisibles.....3/4 of whom do not hold a seat in Parliament......no need to ....they have their Party Puppet Yes men filling the majority....awaiting instructions!!!!!
    Tax Plan....simple promise to not increase tax whatsoever....promise to leave Medicare alone....promise whatever they have to!!!!!
    But when the idiot majority vote them back in.....then you will see their Tax Policies.....then you will see them out source all of medicare to Private Businesses.....increase the GST to 15%.....and any other tax creep that they can get away with!!!!
    Why do I say that?????
    Because this is the same Party that lied last time.....just a different Puppet to throw you off the scent.....had to get rid of Tony....he promised everything but didn't deliver did he?
    Yeah...big risky leaving him as Leader....better to put smicko the smooth talking old warhorse up front...he's a smooth talker!!!
    But get this straight...we over 55's...we know a thing or two!!!
    We smell Corruption within BOTH or ALL the Parties.......we can see it too....not to mention all the secret Deals and leadership shuffles......or even the SECRET TRade Deals!!!
    Forgetting is what the over 70's are prone to.....but we over 50's ...well we are still sharp!!!
    Besides it is us that are now being discriminated against in employment....retrenched or duckshoved out of jobs in the name of Downsizing.....We Know what is what!!!!!
    Predicting a MASS swing vote in Favour of the Independants on Both Houses Nest Election.
    HOW???
    Simple pick an Independent for your region...if none pick the person rated last in preferences by the Party you most Hate!!!
    Then simply put them at NO.1......then proceed to list all the other in the exact Opposite order that the Party you Don't want in has listed on their How to Vote Labor/Liberal Donkey Card!!!!!
    Then Sit Back and Watch the Party Puppets fail to retain their seats as one by one the Independants get in on preferred votes!!!!
    HAPPY PARTY PUPPET HUNTING!!!!!
    Lescol
    4th Mar 2016
    3:14am
    As a senior citizen I intent to vote against the current government; I am weary of voting independent unless their policy precludes them aligning with either major party. I seek a transportable means-free aged pension and for all to pay tax. I also wish to see the end of the immoral negative gearing.
    Lescol
    4th Mar 2016
    3:14am
    As a senior citizen I intent to vote against the current government; I am weary of voting independent unless their policy precludes them aligning with either major party. I seek a transportable means-free aged pension and for all to pay tax. I also wish to see the end of the immoral negative gearing.
    Not Senile Yet!
    4th Mar 2016
    1:52am
    By the way...just something you all missed completely!!!!
    Probably because the Party Propaganda Machines have been working flat out over the last 20-30 years brainwashing everyone!!!!
    The Age Pension never had an Income OR Asset Test to receive same......the only requirement was that you were 65 for men and 60 for women!
    Now I call that Fair!!!!!!
    Why should you be penalised for Any Reason?????
    It has only been the Parties (through agreements) that have introduced Asset Tests and Income Tests......WHY?
    To Save Money....WHY?
    Because they failed to balance THE BUDGET....YET AGAIN!!!!!!
    Oh Yes...added treasure....
    Super was never meant to be Taxed....Not Ever.....so Pensions could be phased out!!!!
    Why the change????
    Too much of a windfall (FREE TAX) for the government to leave it alone...EH????
    36 changes in 30 years to Super Rules is what I call interfering ......don't you????
    Lescol
    6th Mar 2016
    3:54pm
    I have researched this in the past week and sorry to disagree but the pension was means tested from the earliest days of 1908 and paid to men from age 65. It was paid to women at age 60. The age pension was also subject to a residence qualification of 20 years. However the pension has continued to change over the years and the means test was abolished for pensioners aged 75 and over in 1973; and for pensioners aged 70 and over in 1975 BUT sadly there has been no further progressive changes in the past 40 years! I personally believe in non means transportable aged pensions.
    Not Senile Yet!
    5th Mar 2016
    12:30am
    Further to all the rants above...their does seem to be a rather lot of you brainwashed into following....that is following a party or Policy that is inept or unfair!!!
    This is Australia....we were once famous for being innovative and the best at taking other peoples ideas or policy and removing the failed or unfair parts to create our own fairer ones!!
    In the last 20 to 25 yrs Policies Blindly...our MP's have lost their Independent Voice and just follow their Party Policies Blindly.....but to be fair so too have the average voters......they are now easily brainwashed by Propaganda from Both Parties and tend to think only about which party to vote for!!!!
    Change anything in Politics.....the very first thing one has to do is to Change Yourself! By that I mean the way you view and do things! Then it become necessary to change the way that YOU Vote!
    No....I do not mean voting for another Party......that is doing the same thing.....voting for another Party puppet!!!!
    Time to stop voting for these Corrupt Party Puppets who are bought and paid for by their Party BEFORE they are even elected!!!!!
    It is Time to Vote ALL the Party Puppets out!!!!
    By the way ...the Independants do not sell out in the Senate....they negotiate a fairer deal...negotiate changes before legislation is passed!!!
    Surprise! Surprise! that the Parties hate them......they make them work/negotiate like real politicians to get their bills passed!!!
    If the parties think they have a hostile Senate Now...just wait until the NEXT election is over....they just might have a hostile Lower House as well!!!
    As for tax revision....it will never happen under the liberal Party.....they would loose over 50% of their financial Support & Donations......you know that don't you????
    Come On...even my close Liberal Mates Know that!!!
    As for Labor......they can be worse....by trying to go too far ...too fast...the other Way!!!!
    As for Corporates escaping their fair share of tax....the Solution is simple....
    Make them have an office here in Oz and make them pay 10% Tax on their Profits in exchange for their ABN Numbers.....No 10%...Revoke their ABN.No. and prosecute!
    With regard to the Negative Gearing.....a simple Solution is to Half it....but do so over 5 years to allow companies to adjust!
    As for the GST.....stop allow Companies to claim it back as a Tax expenditure ....make them pay it as well.....even on fuel!!!!
    ex PS
    6th Mar 2016
    3:12pm
    Time to break the two party monopoly and get back to a political system that puts the voters first.


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