Superannuation measures announced in Budget 2016/17 have been in limbo for months, so Labor has taken a big step forward by offering a compromise on the Federal Government’s proposed changes.
In a speech to the National Press Club yesterday, Bill Shorten ramped up pressure on the Government by offering to negotiate on the parties’ proposed reforms. Mr Shorten said he would support the placing of a $500,000 lifetime cap on non-concessional contributions as long as it was prospective and not backdated 10 years. To make up for the lost revenue, Mr Shorten recommended the scrapping of three of the Government’s proposed reforms: allowing catch-up concessional superannuation contributions, harmonising contribution rules for people aged 65 to 74, and allowing tax deductions for personal super contributions.
Treasurer Scott Morrison yesterday rejected Labor’s proposal and criticised its opposition to the three reforms, suggesting that blocking these measures would “hollow out crucial support designed to assist more Australians to be independent in their retirement”.
“The big reasons why we made so many changes to superannuation in the last budget was to make it more flexible, to make it more sustainable, to ensure that the tax incentives that are in the superannuation system are going further and working harder to ensure more and more Australians are able to be self-supporting in their retirement and not dependent on a pension or a part pension,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Shorten claims that his offer is the first of many to come from Labor, as an attempt to “reach across the aisle” and work with the Government to repair the budget.
Superannuation reforms are now at the mercy of the Greens, who are demanding their own changes; or the Senate backbench, who are not close to reaching consensus on the package.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has tried a new strategy this month by calling on the Federal Government to adopt a spirit of bipartisanship to repair the budget.
“At the beginning of a new Parliament, I call on Mr Turnbull to help set a new tone. Put the nation ahead of partisan politics, join with me in locking-in these changes with lasting benefit to our nation’s bottom line,” said Mr Shorten.
While Mr Shorten has all the right intentions, he must also realise that bipartisanship goes both ways in regards to reform and that any of the $8 billion in suggested budget repairs need to represent the over-arching views of the general public.
The political landscape has had the proverbial gearbox stuck in neutral for several years though it seems Mr Shorten has put his foot on the clutch and moved us into first gear. Let’s hope that the Federal Government is willing to work with the Opposition on future proposals and reforms so that we can repair the budget and make Australia great again.
What do you think? Do we need bipartisanship or should we simply be backing in the proposals of the Government that was voted in?