Keith Duncan, Pimlico
There are outright lies being perpetrated by Nationals candidate for Richmond, Matthew Fraser, regarding Labor’s policy of terminating taxpayer-funded cash handouts (tax perks) to self funded retirees and pensioners (no longer paying tax), on their share dividends.
Nobody ever wants to lose income streams after receiving them; however, the burning question is: should a tax refund, to be paid to people who are no longer paying tax, have been granted in the first place?
This over-generous windfall, otherwise called franking or imputation credits, was originally introduced by Labor PM Paul Keating as a tax deduction to stop tax being paid on the same money twice. First by the funds and then by the shareholder receiving the payments as taxable dividends.
It was never intended to give refunds to people no longer paying tax.
That avid supporter of tax exemptions for the wealthy, Peter Costello, who, flushed with mining-boom funds, decided to open up the tax-department coffers and hand out vast amounts of largesse to self-funded retirees. This scheme does not operate in any other country.
Naturally, the coalition, being the masters of scare campaigns, are in overdrive scaring the living daylights out of retirees who are worried about their income streams.
Labor has a pensioner guarantee policy where changes won’t affect people receiving government pensions or allowances, and for self-funded retirees still paying tax the share dividend deduction will remain as the scheme was initially intended.
The $8 billion per annum saved from closing this tax-perk for wealthier retirees, many of whom actually admit that they don’t need it and won’t miss it, will be more wisely spent on better funding our public schools and shortening waiting lists in our underfunded hospital system where all Australians will benefit.