20 March 2018
Transcript - #2018014, 2018

In the role of: Minister for Revenue and Financial Services [19 July 2016 - 28 August 2018]

Doorstop interview, Melbourne

Subject: Labor's retiree tax


At the outset I would just like to say a few words for those communities who have experienced the ravages of fire most recently in regional New South Wales and also here in the west in Victoria.

Thankfully we have not seen a loss of life however we have seen huge devastations of farms, of livelihoods, of homes and of communities. And it's important to note that we are thinking of those communities at this time. And I want to commend the work of those communities in being able to salvage and save some of those homes and obviously some of the livelihoods and I want to commend the work of particularly our emergency services personnel in that regard.

Now I want to turn to another issue, an issue that affects so many Australians.

Bill Shorten has revealed that he is going to blow a massive hole in the income of older Australians. He has revealed that he has a $60 billion tax grab. A tax grab and a cash grab that is going to affect around a million Australians who have a taxable income of less than $37, 000.

Those Australians are pensioners, part pensioners, war widows, self-funded retirees. These are the people that Bill Shorten declares are millionaires. Yet these are the people who have worked hard all of their lives, paid their taxes so that they can live comfortably in retirement, not lavishly, but comfortably. These are aspirational Australians.

Bill Shorten has declared war on those aspirational Australians who have got a taxable income of less than $37,000.

It's not right and it's not fair and we must say no.

It's important to note that Bill Shorten promised that he would have no further tax changes for those older Australians only last year. But he has lied to the Australian people, he's lied to those pensioners, those part pensioners, those war widows and those self-funded retirees many of whom have scrimped hard to save for their retirement and who have paid their taxes.

The Government will defend those people. These tax grabs are around about $200 billion worth of tax grabs that the Labor Party has already announced and still counting. We will defend those people. We want to make sure that they can live comfortably in retirement. We'll give them the tools to be able to do so as we have already previously announced.

Are there any questions?


Just in regards to this issue that Labor has put out, it's been a while now, can you give us an idea of what the public response has been to you and what you have been hearing from the electorates?


Electorates right around Australia have had their phones ringing off the hook and have been inundated with letters and emails from those Australians who are affected. As I have said there are more than 1.1 million Australians who are affected by Labor's cash grab and there are around about 1 million of those Australians who have a taxable income of less than $37,000. We've heard stories from pensioners, part pensioners, war widows and self-funded retirees about how this cash grab will impact them, how it will hurt them in their retirement at a time where they can least afford it. We've heard from them that they won't be able to afford some of the little things in life that will help them lead a comfortable retirement and it will put pressure on their household budgets – household budgets that are already under pressure with things like energy bills again another issue that the Government is already tackling. Labor is actually wrong to say that these people are millionaires. We have heard from these people who are certainly not millionaires and who are telling their MPs that this is simple not fair.


I guess we have seen as well that there has been a few different reports in regards to Labor changing it up due to some general anger and backlash at the start, what are your thoughts on that?


Well we have seen multiple different positions now from the Labor Party. This was a policy that clearly wasn't thought through, it's a policy that punishes older Australians, punishes self-funded retirees, punishes war widows, punishes pensioners and punishes part pensioners. It's a policy that they have said they would change the day after it was announced then they have said again now that they won't change it now at all and we have heard just recently only today that they are prepared to change it again. The only thing that you can trust from Labor is the fact that they will put their hand in your pocket to take your savings. The Government will protect those savings – we know that you have worked hard, you have worked hard and paid your taxes so that you can live comfortably in retirement, not lavishly, but comfortably in retirement and we will protect your retirement savings.

Thanks very much.