Friday, March 16, 2018

Shorten scambles to reverse great tax blooper: To give back with the left hand what he takes with the right hand

Which leaves him with no budget "saving" after all.  He should just admit that he got it wrong and do a complete 180.  But Leftist hate to admit it when they are wrong, which they often are.  Where were his political instincts when he decided to hit 600,000 poor people?  It shows that the Labor Party is no longer the party of the worker

Bill Shorten is considering a supplement payment package for up to 250,000 pensioners to make up for annual cash refunds they stand to lose, as the Opposition Leader comes under mounting pressure over Labor’s plan to scrap $59 billion in refundable tax credits on share dividends.

As Labor faces pushback from seniors and self-managed super fund lobby groups, The Australian understands that a financial sweetener will be considered for the 10 per cent of pensioners on the lowest annual incomes who may lose their modest imputation credit refunds.

This would likely come in the form of a payment supplement in addition to Labor’s promise to ­restore the energy supplement linked to the carbon tax, which the Turnbull government scrapped for new welfare and pension recipients.

“We will make sure that pensioners are OK, full stop,” Mr Shorten said yesterday after hinting that Labor’s budget strategy would ensure pensioners were not left out of pocket.

Association and the Association of Independent Retirees yesterday urged their members to write to Labor MPs and warned of a ­national campaign against Mr Shorten’s tax grab.

The Opposition Leader yesterday acknowledged his policy would affect about 250,000 pensioners, amid new warnings the changes would force more people onto the Age Pension and possibly undermine the expected revenue gain of $59bn over a decade.

Mr Shorten’s claim that part pensions would rise to compensate low-income earners for the loss of their rebates was also ­attacked by National Seniors Australia. It declared the comment “incorrect” and argued it showed a fundamental misunderstanding of “how income is calculated for pensioners”.

National Seniors Australia chief executive Ian Henschke said he wanted Labor to “reconsider the full effect of this policy” and provided research showing that some part-pensioners would be more than $900 worse off once their rebates were removed.

Analysis provided exclusively to The Australian shows that a single person who qualifies for the part pension under the assets test may be substantially worse off under the Labor plan.

In one case study, an individual with $451,000 in assets — including $1000 cash from a refundable dividend tax credit — would receive a $3 increase in their fortnightly pension payment (from $302.65 to $305.65) once the refund was scrapped. While this would lift the part-pension payment by $78 a year, it would still leave the individual $922 worse off overall.

Centrelink makes an assumption about the income that investments will generate. In another case study, the analysis suggests that a single person who qualifies for a part pension under the income test is assumed to receive a return of 1.75 per cent on their first $50,200 of savings and 3.25 per cent on anything over that.

Changes in the person’s actual income are irrelevant to this calculation, so the abolition of cash imputation refunds would make no difference to the pension, ­although it would directly affect the pensioner’s total income.

National Seniors Australia’s senior officer Basil La Brooy said: “There doesn’t seem to be an understanding of how income is calculated for pensioners. And this is a policy that’s been in place for many years.”

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday accused Mr Shorten of launching a targeted attack on lower and middle-income earners in a “Labor cash grab” he said would hit more than 3.5 million superannuation accounts and affect more than one million people, including more than 200,000 pensioners.

“He’s seeking to take money from pensioners and self-funded retirees, money they’re entitled to,” Mr Turnbull said. “Think about that — 50 per cent of the individuals that will be hurt by this tax grab are on incomes of less than $18,000. These are pensioners and self-funded retirees.

“This is not a tax loophole or anything like this. This is a case where companies have paid tax, they’ve paid tax. They pay a dividend with a franking credit and if somebody doesn’t have other tax liabilities to offset that, they’re entitled to get the difference in cash. That is completely fair. It’s been the case for nearly 20 years.”

Writing to The Australian yesterday, former Treasury secretary John Stone backed Mr Turnbull’s criticism.

Mr Stone said Paul Keating had not gone far enough after introducing dividend imputation relief in 1987 to correct the “injustice” of double taxation whereby “dividend recipients had no or ­insufficient other taxable income against which to offset their ­credits”.

Mr Stone said this was “finally rectified” by Coalition treasurer Peter Costello in 2001, after the budget had been taken back into surplus. He warned that Mr Shorten’s policy on franking credits would “restore that injustice”.

The Association of Independent Retirees warned the Labor policy could “push more retirees onto the Aged Pension much earlier than would currently be the case” and “negate the short-term revenue gains anticipated”.

“You need to engage with your federal member of parliament and bring to their attention the concerns described above that AIR has with Labor’s announced policy on dividend imputation credits,” it said in a letter to its members.

The Self-Managed Super Fund Association produced figures showing that a single homeowner with $580,000 in superannuation (who had saved enough to forgo the Age Pension) could lose $5357 in franking credits — a reduction in yearly income from $28,357 to $23,000, or a cut of 18.8 per cent.

SMSF Association head of policy Jordan George said the drop to $23,000 in income was only $112 above the full Age Pension and Age Pension supplement of $22,888 which can be accessed by a homeowning single person with assets of less than $253,750.

“Self-funded retirees who have assets just above the Age Pension assets test thresholds may be worse off under the Labor proposal than those with less assets but receiving the Age Pension,” Mr George said. “This is a perverse outcome.”


Batman Labor voters vent fury over Shorten tax grab

Lifelong Labor voters living in Batman have called Bill Shorten’s radical tax plan the “final straw” ending their support for the ALP as the party road-tests new superannuation changes days ahead of a critical by-election.

Pensioners and low-income retirees living in the north Melbourne electorate say the latest ALP plan to abolish cash rebates for tax credits on shares held by retirees, investors and ordinary taxpayers will hurt those who can ill afford it. “Apparently it won’t affect me that much because I only hold shares through my super fund, but it’s possible those returns will go down and that hurts,” retired marine engineer Jim Robertson told The Australian yesterday. The 78-year-old, on a full pension supplemented by a small amount of super in an ­industry fund, has voted Labor in every state and federal election bar one since emigrating from Scotland more than 50 years ago.

Come polling day on Saturday, he will vote for either the Australian Conservatives or the Australian Liberty Party, saying the tax plan Mr Shorten unveiled in an address to the left-wing Chifley Institute this week was more evidence of Labor ditching traditional values.

“It wasn’t looking good before, but now I’m even less inclined to vote for Labor,” he said. “It’s like Labor has lost its roots and needs to get back to what it used to stand for: the working man. I don’t think the party of old would have gone about (tax reform) like this.”

Analysis of the new tax plan conducted by Treasury revealed that more than 610,000 Australians on the lowest annual incomes stand to lose an average of $1200 a year in tax refunds under the proposal to abolish cash rebates for tax credits.

Analysis of official tax data also showed the largest group of people to be hit by the $59 billion tax grab will be those receiving annual incomes of less than $18,200, the majority of whom receive the Age Pension.

Within the Batman electorate, voters over 65 make up almost 19 per cent of the voting population. In the last federal election, Labor would have lost the seat if it had sustained a net loss of just 927 voters on the two-party-preferred vote.

The by-election is a close contest between former ACTU president Ged Kearney for Labor and Greens candidate Alex Bhathal, who is making her sixth attempt on the seat.

Northcote-based financial planner Anthony Galle fielded calls from clients concerned about the changes. “I had one client who called it ‘political suicide’ because so many people — not just in the electorate, but around the country — are going to be affected,” he said.

Another Northcote-based planner, Jeff Yacoub, also fielded calls from concerned clients, and said he was personally concerned about how super returns would dip as a result of the policy.

“Sure, the impacts will be more visible to people with an SMSF, but people with money in super funds will also see returns go down. It might be 4.8 per cent last year and then its 4 per cent this year. It’s less obvious, but they’re still getting hit,” he said.

“And it’s a bad political stunt because it’s probably going to be supported by people who don’t understand the implications, because they’re not active or direct investors.”

At Quarries Park in Clifton Hill, self-managed super fund beneficiary Geoff Griffiths fumed at the changes which he said had the potential to drive the price of shares down across the Australian equities market.

The Clifton Hill resident, who owns a house in Batman but isn’t a resident for voting purposes, said he had been a near lifelong Labor voter, but this had turned him off the party for good.

“Now I’ll have to vote for whoever will be strongest against Labor,” he said.

Ms Kearney kept a low profile yesterday. In her absence, Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the Greens were wary of unintended consequences for the elderly and pensioners.


Perth's back-to-back cooler summers belie warming trend, say forecasters

While its counterparts in the east sweltered, Perth had one of its mildest summers in 18 years, recording just 10 days over 35 degrees Celsius.

Residents in the WA capital can normally expect about 20 days where the temperature reaches 35C or higher, and three or four days hotter than 40C.

However the hottest day this summer, January 14, was a mere 38C — the lowest maximum since the summer of 2001-02.

Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra all recorded higher summer maximums, with each experiencing days exceeding 40C.

Sydney sweltered through the hottest day of the season, with a top of 43.4C, its highest temperature in 79 years.

The average maximum for Perth this summer was 30.2 degrees, half a degree below the average since recording began at the Mount Lawley weather station 25 years ago.

The long-term average for the city is 29.3 degrees.

It has also been Perth's fourth-wettest summer, after heavy falls from ex-Tropical Cyclone Joyce dumped 96.2mm in the gauge on January 16, bringing the summer total to 147 millimetres.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Glenn Cook said the cooler weather was partly due to the mobility of weather systems to the south.

"We've had high-pressure systems moving fairly steadily to the south and not sitting in the Bight for any length of time," he said.

"Hotter summers will usually have more easterly winds and more static high pressure systems in the Bight, building up heat over the west coast."

Perth's wetter, cooler summer is the second in a row for the city.

2016-17 saw a record wet summer, with 192.8 millimetres of rain over three months, exceeding the previous record of 180.4mm set in 1954-55.

It was also a season of mild daytime and overnight temperatures.

Several sites across the metropolitan area had their lowest daily maximum temperatures ever on February 9, 2017, with temperatures in the 13-18C range.


Australia to get a new German-designed light tank

Much faster than a tracked vehicle

Australia’s top political military figures have announced the largest purchase in the history of the Australian Army which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said was based on “lethality and survivability”.

The Turnbull Government plans to use the new Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV), known as “The Boxer”, to replace the Army’s current crop of substandard products, the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle, or ASLAV for short.

“We’ve put them in the heat, we’ve put them in the cold, we’ve put them in the wet, we’ve put them in the dry, we’ve shot at them, we’ve tried to blow them up,” Defence Minister Marise Payne said.

The move follows the Army being left forced to use substandard products in combat, threatening the lives of Australian soldiers by using older products not suited to modern day warfare, a security expert has told

“This is a large step up in terms of size and capability from the vehicle they are replacing,” Marcus Hellyer, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute said.

“You could technically say that defence has undercapitalised its armoured vehicle fleet for decades.

“The Army got to the point where they couldn’t take ASLAVs any more to Afghanistan because they couldn’t withstand the blast of an improvised explosive device (IED).

“The kinds of vehicles that the Army currently has, the ASLAV, and M113, are just not capable of surviving on a modern battlefield, they can’t survive even in lower threat environments such as Afghanistan.

“We had ASLAVs blown up in Afghanistan and soldiers killed to the point where Army chose not to deploy any more. It didn’t even deploy its M113s to Afghanistan at all.

“The M113 is really a vehicle with a 1950s pedigree, and we still have M113s in the Army today that went to Vietnam. They are a much older technology.

“The Boxer will provide protection against those IEDs as well as rocket propelled grenades.”

In January, decorated war hero Ben Roberts-Smith told The Courier-Mail troops under attack would stand a better chance at survival if the Government used the Boxer.

“They are going to have to live and die by their own decisions,” he said at the time.

According to The Courier-Mail, “it is understood Rheinmetall’s Boxer CRV was the far superior vehicle and has a bigger export footprint to South-East Asian countries and the potential to break into the US”.

The vehicle, dubbed “highly lethal”, can survive direct bomb hits while its cannons can fire up to 200 rounds of ammunition in one minute.

It also uses a “pulse” technology which blows up incoming missiles and soldiers have noted its “astounding accuracy”.

Mr Turnbull said the new vehicles ensured “the best protection for our soldiers on the battlefield” and will “undertake a range of missions, from regional stability and peacekeeping through to high-threat operations”.

“This is a decision based on the capability of the vehicle both in terms of lethality and survivability,” he told soldiers during the announcement on Wednesday.

“What we’re doing is ensuring you have the vehicle that will enable you to complete your missions with the best capability, the greatest lethality but also will protect you and ensure that when you have completed your mission you will come home safely.”

Yet Mr Turnbull’s choice of words has sparked concern over the fate of Australia’s future at war.

“Things take a long time and if you decide to start getting these things the day before the war starts, it’s too late,” Mr Hellyer said. “If you want to be ready for a war that starts in 2025 you need to start preparing now.”

What the Prime Minister didn’t mention in today was that the announcement is in fact phase two of a four phase “megaproject” which according to experts will cost three to four times as much as phase two.

The next phase, according to the Department of Defence, is to replace its current crop of M113 vehicles.

“This is actually the small part of the project, despite the $5 billion price tag,” Mr Hellyer said.

According to a statement from the Defence Department, the next phase of the program is to replace the M113, otherwise known as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle, which will have the job of carrying soldiers on the battlefield.

The cost of the next phase is estimated to be close to $20 billion.

Queensland has been picked to build $5 billion worth of the vehicles, which according to the Department of Defence will “support the next generation of Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) with the firepower, protection and mobility to defeat increasingly lethal and adaptive adversaries well into the future”.

Ms Payne said it took three years of “rigorous testing” to determine which vehicle would fight best in warfare.

“The outcome of that assessment is that this is the best capability to provide the mobility, the lethality and the protection that will support the men and women of the ADF in doing the job that we ask them to do every day.”

The vehicles will be “manufactured and delivered by Australian workers, using Australian steel,” according to a statement from the Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne.

Mr Turnbull made the announcement this morning, revealing German contractor Rheinmetall will build 211 Land Combat Vehicle Systems at a new facility in Ipswich, southwest of Brisbane.

Major General Gus McLachlan tweeted Australian soldiers were “grateful” for the new multipurpose Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle.

“A tough competition delivered us a great vehicle to start the process of modernising our Armoured Fighting Vehicles. Make them well, Rheinmetall, because they will protect our most precious asset, our soldiers.”

Despite looking like a tank, the Army will use the Boxer in a different, more mobile form during combat.

“It’s going to be out in front of the tanks, scouting out ahead and doing reconnaissance, it’s not meant to get into a battle with the enemy. A vehicle like this is going to lose a fight with a tank very quickly,” Mr Hellyer told

The federal government said the project would “create jobs across Australia, including 330 in Queensland, 170 in Victoria and 140 in New South Wales during acquisition”.

An additional upgrade of facilities in Puckapunyal and Bandiana in Victoria, Adelaide, and Townsville and Enoggera in Queensland, where the vehicles will be used, will commence at a cost of $235 million.

The first CRV’s are not expected to be rolled out until mid 2020.

“In years gone by we would have bought these vehicles from overseas and import them into the country, Mr Pyne said. “54 per cent of the acquisition will be valued to our economy and 70 per cent of whole project.”


Lenient sentence for African menace

Tempers have flared outside court after an unlicensed driver who killed a teenage boy escaped a prison sentence.

Ayou Deng was driving when knocked 13-year-old Jalal Yassine-Naja off his skateboard in Brookfield, west Melbourne in March 2017.

The mother-of-seven wasn't charged for the fatal collision as it was deemed an accident, but on Tuesday she was sentenced to 80 hours of community work for driving without a licence, Nine News reported.

She was also sentenced for unrelated unlawful assault and criminal damage offences.

Deng was heckled by members of the far-right group True Blue Crew as she walked from court.

Group member Kane Miller was heard yelling: 'If her family wasn't on the road the boy would still be alive... child killer'.

Jalal's mother Olivia Yassine said Deng should have been charged over her son's death.

'I want it to be acknowledged that she killed a person - my son - and she ran over him. And she did wrong. You do the crime, you do the time,' she said.

Conservatives MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins was also outside court and she was critical of Victoria's judicial system.

Ms Yassine said she wants the case to be re-examined so charges can be pursued against Deng.

'That's not right. I will fight for my son. It doesn't matter what it takes. I will get answers out of this and I will appeal it,' she said.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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