Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Afternoon Agenda
28 February 2023
KIERAN GILBERT: Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume joins me now live from Melbourne. Is the government not doing exactly what Angus Taylor articulated back in 2016?
JANE HUME: Kieran, let's be very clear. Today, Jim Chalmers and Anthony Albanese broke a promise that they made to the Australian people. Prior to the election, they said that there were going to be no changes to superannuation. In fact, Jim Chalmers made a pledge. He said that there were going to be no new taxes other than changes to multinational tax in a Labor government. And today, they didn't just bell the cat, they put a siren on a tiger because this is a significant change. It's a significant breach of faith to the Australian people and they're doing it not for any reason of keeping the superannuation system sustainable, but because they can't balance their budget. They can't balance their budget because they are addicted to spending an additional $23 billion in their budget just in October last year. We'll wait to see what the spending commitments are that are being made in the May budget this year. But unless you can rein in spending, well, of course, they're going to be looking for revenue. And now there's tens of thousands of Australians who have relied on the superannuation system as it is who are going to be paying the price for Labor's inability to manage their own budget commitments.
KIERAN GILBERT: Is it a broken promise though, when they're going to have this kick into effect from 25/26, so essentially, people will be able to go to the polls, and reject the idea of if they feel so strongly about it at the next election?
JANE HUME: Well, then, if that's the case, Kieran, why would they want to legislate for it in this term of Parliament? Surely, you would make the commitment to say that we will legislate for this in a second term of our government, rather than legislating for it now, and then trying to implement it in the next term. That's a broken promise that's not a mandate, that's just plain tricky. That is very much a broken promise to the Australian people.
KIERAN GILBERT: When you look at the argument that the Treasurer made and the Prime Minister, they're almost goading the opposition to tap to have this fight. They're saying if you want to defend those on with $100 million balances and so on in their superannuation funds, well go for it. They're happy to have that fight. Do do you think most people would be on your side when it comes to this debate?
JANE HUME: Well, they're not taxing people with more than $100 million in their superannuation. They're taxing people with more than $3 million. There's around 80,000 Australians that fall into that trap. Not only that, but they've said that this is not retrospective, but it is, it's not grandfathered certainly, there are a lot of people that have relied on the tax, on the tax framework of superannuation, in order to put more money into super that will now fall into this. For instance, people that have sold a family business and put that money back into super. Older Australians that might have downsized from their large family home into a smaller home that have put the money into superannuation who would have been better off just keeping a large family home because it would have been more tax effective. What about people that have used catch up contributions to put more money into superannuation on a voluntary basis, but now are realising that they probably would have been better off if they had have kept it outside of superannuation and invested either in a residential property or potentially franked dividends. You know, this is a breach of trust and it's a breach of trust that is an indicator of exactly where Labor's stand on all of these issues because that tax expenditure statement Keiran, we saw that it wasn't just superannuation that was up there in lights there was also negative gearing it was also capital gains tax. So what is it that won't be a breach of trust, won't be a broken promise if they decide that they're going to legislate for this term of Parliament, but only implement in the next term.
KIERAN GILBERT: Given that tax expenditures and insight statement released today by the treasurer, the top 10 categories cost about $150 billion annually, given the scope of those tax expenditures or concessions in some ways as the government describes it, isn't there room to move to try and make them sustainable?
JANE HUME: And wasn't that telling, that you know, the Treasurer and and the Prime Minister were pointing to a $50 billion in tax concessions in superannuation, and yet this change is only going to return such a small, really nominal amount to the budget. It does seem more like an attack on class welfare and you said it so yourself that goading of the opposition when talking about $100 million accounts. Now this is in fact a clear agenda that Labor are putting forward that quite frankly replicates the kind of policies that at least Bill Shorten was upfront with the Australian people about when he said we're going to make changes to capital gains tax, when he said we're going to make changes to negative gearing. He didn't put out a tax expenditure statement and you know, allow essentially the media and the opposition to do their work for them. He came out and said, these are our policies. Well, now Jim Chalmers and Anthony Albanese are essentially allowing them, allowing that tax expenditure statement to sell the idea of doubling and that's what it is. It's a doubling of the tax on superannuation 80,000 people's superannuation accounts. Now, what's fair about that, that is quite clear, quite simple, clear as day. It's a broken promise and it's a breach of trust. It's a breach of a pledge that Jim Chalmers made to the Australian people before the election. So we can only ask what's next.
KIERAN GILBERT: Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume, I appreciate your time today. Talk to you soon.
JANE HUME: Thanks, Kieran.