23 April 2015
Transcript - #2015024, 2015

In the role of: Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer [23 December 2014 - 20 September 2015]

Interview with Steve Chase, ABC NewsRadio

SUBJECTS: Superannuation, Tax

CHASE:

Kelly O’Dwyer, has Labor stolen a march on the coalition with its new policy on taxing super?

O’DWYER:

Not at all. Look, it’s very interesting that whenever we see Labor contribute to this debate around tax and spending, they constantly and consistently put forward ideas that are going to increase new taxes. We very, very rarely hear from them about how they are going to reduce spending, and I am looking forward to the day where they will come forward with some reduction in spending proposals. Under Labor we saw spending dramatically increase. What we have been trying to do in Government is try to reduce the increase in spending and try to do that in a way that doesn’t hurt ordinary Australian citizens. So it is good to hear the ideas from them, but what I would say is we would like to hear some ideas from them about how to reduce spending, not just simply increase taxes.

CHASE:

But what Labor is proposing in relation to superannuation wouldn’t actually hurt ordinary Australians, it would, hurt, if that’s the right use of the word, wealthier Australians.

O’DWYER:

Well, look, it doesn’t surprise me that Labor is very keen to go to superannuation, as a bit of a honey pot, because superannuation was a honey pot for them when they were in government. They ripped around about nine billion dollars out of superannuation in government, and they seem to be going back there again. We’ve said we are going to look at tax holistically, which we are doing through our Tax White Paper, and we judge against the criteria Steve as to whether or not it is going to be lower, simpler and fairer. I think we can clearly say that in this case, what is being put forward by the Labor Party isn’t about lower taxes, it’s certainly not about simpler taxes. If you take the example of the new tax on earning above $75,000, that’s not simple tax. When Wayne Swan first floated this idea, he floated a tax on earning above $100,000, and it’s very, very complex to administer. It’s complex when you consider couples and their superannuation, reporting requirements, different accounts. And that’s even before you consider things like capital gains and other associated measures. Compliance costs in super are already about 40 billion dollars, and that comes back to tax payers. So what Labor is proposing is a more complex system. We’ll have a look at it, but truthfully, what we need to see is more from Labor than simply a press release. We need to see the modelling, and we need to see the assumptions. And so far, Labor hasn’t provided that.

CHASE:

Ok, so Labor is also talking about placing restrictions on negative gearing. The Prime Minister has made clear that you are not going to touch negative gearing. You are also saying that there is not going to be change to superannuation in this term of Government. We are now starting to see clear lines of difference between the Coalition and Labor now. Are you happy with that point of difference?

O’DWYER:

Well, there are always going to be clear lines of difference on matters of policy. We though have said we are prepared to engage in a sensible discussion around tax, but we have to look at it holistically, not just simply picking a few areas where we are going to increase taxes. We need to also look at how it interacts with the whole system, particularly where it comes to retirement income, and that includes looking as well at how it interacts with the pension system, how it interacts with the transfer system and the welfare system more broadly. So in terms of negative gearing, the Prime Minister, as you quite rightly say, has ruled out any changes to negative gearing in this term, and what we will do will ensure that any proposals that we have regarding tax will be taken to the election so that the Australian people can decide.

CHASE:

Kelly O’Dwyer, good to talk to you. Thank you.

O’DWYER:

Terrific Steve, nice to speak to you too.