Friday, 12 April 2019
SUBJECT: 2019 Federal Election
DAVID BEVAN: Likewise, with the Labor Party and at the last moment, somebody said, Amanda Rishworth, she will talk about this. She joins us now – she is the Labor MP for Kingston in the Southern Suburbs. Good morning Amanda Rishworth.
AMANDA RISHWORTH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT: Good morning, David.
BEVAN: You can win Government, but you still might have serious problems getting it through the Senate.
RISHWORTH: I am not 100 per cent sure about what Rex’s position is but we have been very upfront before an election about what our proposals are. If anyone was watching the last Parliament and saw the changes to the pension asset tests, that was something that the Liberals did not tell people about and they were caught really, very much, unaware when that legislation was pushed through the Parliament. Labor voted against it – we didn’t think it was right. We have been very clear that we are going to put our policy upfront for people to judge it. I would make the point that 80 per cent of the benefit that accrues as a result of a dividend – franking credits – does go to the wealthiest 20 per cent of retirees. It is not means tested. We have made adjustments. As we have said, anyone who is receiving the part pension will continue to be able to get their franking credits. Of course, anyone that has paid any tax on their income can still, of course, offset their dividend franking credits against that tax bill to get their tax bill down to zero if that is how they choose to organise their tax arrangements. We have been clear and very upfront about this and I think in terms of voters, they know what our policy is.
BEVAN: Amanda Rishworth, we got a call yesterday from Diane. Now, Diane didn’t strike me as being exceptionally well heeled. She is doing okay but she has to watch her money fairly closely and she has invested money to try and be independent – and good on her for doing that. This is what she had to say about the impact that your policy will have on her finances.
DIANE: I am a self-funded retiree, on not a very big income and the extra few thousand I get back with my franking credits really helps me survive with everything going up in price. And the fact that they have said that, I think it is in January, they are going to bring in negative gearing that everyone who have bought house before January 2019, they can still have negative gearing. So it is very unfair that people who have got shares have had shares for a long time, we’re not going to be given out franking credits, we’re going to get them taken away. It is just a few thousand dollars but it is money I can keep paying my private health with. You know with the cost of electricity and everything, it is going to push some older people over onto the pension and it will end up the government paying out more money than they are recouping.
BEVAN: Now, Amanda, I was really impressed with Diane, she was saying, I am not using this money to go off on some fancy holiday. I am using this money that I get – and she knows exactly where every penny is going – I am using this money from the franking dividends to pay for my private health. Now, what do you say to her?
RISHWORTH: Of course, there is an asset test when it comes to the pension and anyone that can qualify for a part pension- I don’t know if Diane does qualify for a part pension…
BEVAN: But your policy might push her onto a part pension.
RISHWORTH: Well if she has got direct share ownership then she will be able to get her franking credits back at that point. The issue here comes around fairness and when you look at the policy as a whole it is costing-
BEVAN: What is fair? If she built her finances around this money, okay, and she didn’t ask the government to change the policy, Howard did it back, you know ten or so years ago and she said, right, they are the new rules and now I will build my finances around this, I don’t want to be forced onto a part pension and I am going to use this money wisely and now you are going to take it away.
RISHWORTH: We have to look at what is fair across the whole spectrum and this is costing the Budget $6 billion a year. When John Howard first brought it in, it was costing $500 million. It is unsustainable, it is not means tested and the majority of benefit does go to the wealthiest retirees and there is a principle as well. Now, I understand people have set their circumstances up in a way but we don’t have taxation and other systems- superannuation systems- that never change, they change pretty regularly. All sides of government do that in a way to help manage these things. I do understand Diane does-
BEVAN: But it is tough!
RISHWORTH: We will have to look at her finances- I don’t know Diane’s finances, I don’t know if she has got a separate superannuation, as well as her direct share holdings, a range of people have a range of different asset classes including property, share holdings as well as other things. It is difficult for me to comment on Diane in particular.
BEVAN: Amanda Rishworth, thank you for your time. Labor MP for Kingston.