A few days ago, the Labor Party released a policy which would stop the Commonwealth handing out cheques for excess franking credits to those who have arranged their tax affairs to pay little or no income tax1.
Of course, the foaming-at-the-mouth Treasurer, Scott Morrison, stated that it was ‘theft’2. This rhetoric was ramped up for the Batman by-election and the South Australian State election which were both held on March 17th. Morrison, as I reported last week, neglected to insert the word ‘taxable’ between ‘low’ and ‘income’ giving a misleading impression that the poor were going to be hit by the abolition of the excess franking credit lurk1.
Anyone in the current Federal Government whining about theft from the poor is simply demonstrating their hypocrisy. In their shambolic 2014 Budget, they attempted to cut pension indexation. This would have meant that those on a government pension would have had the annual increase of their pension limited, so that after a decade they would have been $80 a week worse off. They cut $1 billion from pensioner concessions, and cut the $900 seniors supplement to self-funded retirees holding a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. They also attempted to reset deeming rate thresholds which would have decreased the part-pensions of about 500,000 people3.
In 2015 the Liberals did a deal with the Greens to change the pension assets test which had the effect of cutting the pensions of about 370,000 people, while increasing it for others4.
Whatever you think about the Labor policy, the government complaining about ‘theft’ from the poor is hypocritical. However, hypocrisy from this government should surprise no-one.