Thursday 21st July 2016 - 1:38 pm

Malcolm Turnbull’s gamble

by Alan Thornhill

Analysis

 

 

 

 

Placating dissidents is risky.

 

But Malcolm Turnbull was not deterred, a few days ago, when he sent Liberal dissidents a message, from a news conference.

 

The Prime Minister said “: I am listening very keenly and carefully to concerns that have been raised by my colleagues and of course by other people in the community as well.”

 

He was, of course, was speaking to a small, but very active group, of Liberal dissidents, who want bigger tax breaks, on superannuation, for their wealthy voters.

 

The South Australian, Cory Bernardi, who was among the first to speak out on this issue, welcomed the assurance.

 

The ABC reported that he said Mr Turnbull had been  “unbelievably receptive and respectful of differences of opinion on policy issues, including in superannuation.”

 

But not all are convinced.

 

Another conservative Senator, George Christiansen, is threatening to cross the floor – and vote against – what he calls a Labor style policy if the government does not drop its proposed $500,000 cap, on tax free superannuation reforms.

 

The budget contained two main  superannution reforms,   a $500,000 contributions cap and a $1.6 million pension fund limit.

 

The Financial Planning Association chief executive Dante De Gori  has described these as good measures, but warned confidence in the super system could be eroded by the retrospective effects of the $500,000 contributions cap.

 

The dissidents do not agree.

 

One West Australian MP, among their number, says the Liberals would not have lost votes, as they did, in the July 2 elections, if well heeled voters could have been enticed out  to polling stations, to hand out how to vote cards.

 

Ian Yates the Chief Executive of the Council on the Ageing, said  “the fact that the Prime Minister and Treasurer are under pressure to reverse sound policy to make super fairer, based on a weak narrative about selected poor election results and fewer well-heeled supporters manning polling booths, would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.”
He said:  ““…superannuation tax breaks cost over $25 billion in foregone revenue.

 

 

“Middle and lower earners, the majority of whom are women, have to pay more in taxes – both now and in the future – to pay for super tax breaks that largely benefit high-income men,”Mr Yates said.

 

Several other bodies also vowed to fight the dissidents’ campaign when Mr Turnbull softened his stance on the matter last Sunday, after declaring in the recent election campaign that the government’s position on the matter was “ironclad.”

 

Perhaps the most significant of those declarations, for the government, was that from GetUp, which said it is ready to fight on this matter.

 

Especially as it showed, before the election that it has some skills, in this area.


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