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The Turnbull Government: battling for the millionaires - Media Release

THE TURNBULL GOVERNMENT: BATTLING FOR THE MILLIONAIRES

The Turnbull Government’s mistakes and misleading claims on Labor’s dividend imputation reform are continuing to pile up.

Yesterday, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells told the Senate that:

More than half of all refunded franking credits are paid to individuals who earn less than the $18,200 tax-free threshold, including pensioners and self-funded retirees. Ninety-seven per cent of people who receive franking credit refunds have a taxable income below $87,000—people who have worked hard, saved hard and paid tax.

This is patently untrue.

While half the number of people receiving franking credits may have a taxable income of less than $18,200, independent analysis says 80 per cent of this concession benefits the wealthiest 20 per cent.

In regards to retiree income, excess imputation credits refunded to self-managed super funds, 50 per cent of the total benefits go to the wealthiest 10 per cent SMSF balances (which have balances in excess of $2.4 million).

Senator Fierravanti-Wells was later forced to correct her comments.

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'Secret exemption' report ridiculous and wrong - Media Release

CHRIS BOWEN MP, SHADOW TREASURER 

ANDREW LEIGH MP, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER


NEWS REPORT OF ‘SECRET EXEMPTION’ IS RIDICULOUS AND WRONG

Today’s report in the Daily Telegraph of a ‘secret exemption’ for union-aligned not-for-profit bodies is plain wrong.

The so-called 'secret' exemption is so secret that it was clearly outlined in the original media statement and accompanying factsheet that charities and not-for-profit institutions would be exempt from the dividend imputation reforms.

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Forget the trickle down trickery - OpEd, The Australian

CHRIS BOWEN MP, SHADOW TREASURER

ANDREW LEIGH MP, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

FORGET THE TRICKLE DOWN TRICKERY, LABOR'S POLICY ENCOURAGES LONG TERM INVESTMENT

They used to call it horse-and-sparrow economics — the idea that if you fed the horse enough oats, some would pass through for the sparrows. These days, we call it trickle-down economics — the idea that if big entities get a windfall, a bit of it will eventually leak on to the rest of the population.

Trickle-down economics is at the heart of the Turnbull government’s case for a company tax cut to Australia’s largest businesses. On the night of the May 2016 budget, the Liberals released modelling that Treasury had commissioned on the impact to households.

It estimated that cutting the corporate tax rate for Australia’s largest firms from 30 per cent to 25 per cent, funded by raising personal income tax rates on middle Australia, would boost household income by 0.1 per cent in the 2030s.

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Randomistas help change our world - OpEd, The Chronicle

Randomistas help change our world

The Chronicle, 20 March 2018

Some years ago, the British Government was trying to figure out how to encourage people to sign up for the organ donor registry.

Rather than go with their gut, the government’s ‘Nudge Unit’ randomly trialled various messages. One was a picture of smiling people and the words: ‘Every day thousands of people who see this page decide to register.’ Another had no photo, just the text: ‘If you needed an organ transplant, would you have one? If so, please help others.’

Many thought the former would work best. 

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Labor welcomes Senate passage of Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive Bill – with Labor amendments - Media Release

JASON CLARE MP

TIM HAMMOND MP

DR ANDREW LEIGH MP

LABOR WELCOMES SENATE PASSAGE OF JUNIOR MINERALS EXPLORATION INCENTIVE BILL – WITH LABOR AMENDMENTS

Labor today welcomed the passage through the Senate of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Junior Minerals Exploration Inventive Bill) 2017, with Labor’s amendments.

Labor’s amendments require the Minister to publish an annual impact assessment of the Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive. This was a key deficiency of the measure’s predecessor, the Exploration Development Incentive, which lapsed at the end of last financial year.

Labor’s amendments will also require the Commissioner of Taxation to publish details of who receives the exploration incentive credits and how much they receive. This information is important for the resources industry, for investors and for taxpayers.

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Hobart reconnected forum a success - Media Release

ANDREW LEIGH MP, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

JULIE COLLINS MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGEING AND MENTAL HEALTH

HOBART RECONNECTED FORUM A SUCCESS

Today, we held a successful ‘Reconnected’ roundtable with Tasmanian charities and not-for-profits, exchanging ideas to boost social capital and community engagement.

While the Turnbull Government is working in parliament to stifle the voice of our charities, we’re listening to charities to hear how we can ensure our communities have stronger bonds and louder voices.

Over the course of the last generation, we’ve seen some worrying trends. Australians are less likely to join community organisations or play organised sports. We’ve seen troubling drop offs in volunteering rates and donation rates in recent years.

These are the trends Labor is trying to reverse as we hear from charities and organisations about what they’re doing to foster community spirit and build social capital at a local level.

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We must close unsustainable tax loopholes - Transcript, ABC Hobart Mornings

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC HOBART MORNINGS

MONDAY, 19 MARCH 2018

SUBJECT: Dividend imputation reform, South Australian election, Batman by-election, Labor’s strong female representation.

LEON COMPTON: Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh’s in Tasmania at the moment. Andrew Leigh, good morning to you.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning, Leon. Great to be with you.

COMPTON: How many Tasmanians will be affected by the change – in other words, how many Tasmanians will lose money based on the changed you’re proposing?

LEIGH: I don’t have a state breakdown for you, Leon, but certainly what I can say is that half of the benefits of this uniquely Australian tax loophole go to people in self-managed super funds with more than two and a half million dollars in their accounts. This is a tax loophole put in place when John Howard and Peter Costello were swimming in money at the beginning of the first mining boom. It was at odds with the notion of dividend imputation, which Paul Keating introduced in 1987, which was aimed to avoid double taxation of dividends. Cash refunds actually avoids the single taxation of dividends.

COMPTON: So how many Tasmanians do you think may be affected by this based on the figures that you’ve seen? We’ve got two per cent of the national population, does that mean two per cent of this $5.6 billion won’t be flowing to Tasmanian people with low or no claimable income?

LEIGH: We know that on average, Tasmanian incomes are below those of the rest of Australia, so you would expect fewer Tasmanians proportionately to be affected by these changes. We know that across the country, 92 per cent of Australians aren’t affected. Indeed, most of your listeners Leon will be in the situation where when they’re dealing with the tax office, they’re thinking ‘how much tax will I pay?’ But this is a tax loophole where people are getting cheques written for them by the tax office. It’s uniquely Australia, put in place for unusual reasons. It’s not sustainable. It’s the cane toad of Australian tax policy and if we’re to make sure that we fund our hospitals and our schools properly, that we have a strong pension system, that we look after the most vulnerable, then we have to make sure we close these unsustainable tax loopholes. No one else in the world does it like this.

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ATO not designed to be ATM for multimillionaires - Transcript, ABC Melbourne Drive

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC MELBOURNE DRIVE

THURSDAY, 15 MARCH 2018

SUBJECT: Dividend imputation reform.

RAF EPSTEIN: Andrew Leigh, he is Labor’s Shadow Assistant Treasurer. He’s one of the local MPs in the ACT as well. Andrew Leigh, good afternoon.

ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER:  Good afternoon, Raf. How are you?

EPSTEIN: I’m good. Look, you’re raising a fair bit of revenue over a decade - $59 billion. Can you do that without hurting people who can’t afford it?

LEIGH: Raf, if you look at the way in which dividend refundability goes, about half of the benefits which are going to self-managed super funds are going to people with more than two and a half million dollars in their superannuation accounts. I don’t think the Australian Tax Office was ever designed to be an ATM for multimillionaires, to be writing cheques out to people who have very healthy superannuation accounts-

EPSTEIN: Can I stop you there, Andrew Leigh. Is that publicly available information, that half of the cash is going to people with a super balance of more than $2.5 million?

LEIGH: Yes, that’s the analysis that we’ve got of the benefits going to people with self-managed superannuation funds-

EPSTEIN: So where’s the analysis come from?

LEIGH: That’s the analysis that’s been done for us by a range of people, including the Parliamentary Budget Office.

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Morrison’s premature pronouncement - Media Release

MORRISON’S PREMATURE PRONOUNCEMENT

Scott Morrison has pounced on an interim consumer watchdog report into whether the Turnbull Government’s Bank Levy is being passed on through higher mortgage rates.

The report looks at the first 90 days of the levy’s operation.

Mr Morrison was quick to claim victory, claiming that the levy was not passed on to consumers.

As the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission states:

However, this does not necessarily mean that the Inquiry Banks have not changed prices for other products in response to the Major Bank Levy

ACCC, Residential mortgage price inquiry interim report page 44

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Morrison aims at Labor, shoots own foot - Media Release

MORRISON AIMS AT LABOR, SHOOTS OWN FOOT

The Treasurer has once again flubbed his attack, this time on Labor’s Australian Investment Guarantee:

Our policy is even better – at the moment, you get to write off the entire $20,000.

Sky News, 14 March, 2018.

Actually, a $20,000 investment by a small business is precisely an example of what cannot be claimed under the government’s current scheme.

In regards to Labor’s policy, Morrison goes on:

My understanding it is $20,000.

When pressed that Labor’s policy extends beyond a $20,000 threshold he says:

No, it’s not. It’s not!

That’s also not true.

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