Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has admitted he should have been clearer about Labor’s superannuation policy, arguing he misheard or misunderstood the question.
- Bill Shorten said yesterday that Labor had no plans to increase taxation on superannuation contributions
- In late 2016, Labor announced a number of changes that could generate around $30 million in savings
- Mr Shorten and his finance spokesman Jim Chalmers clarified today saying Labor was sticking with that plan
Mr Shorten has also confirmed the Opposition will stick with its plan to curb tax concessions for superannuation contributions if elected, raising about $30 billion over a decade.
On the campaign trail yesterday, Mr Shorten ruled out any increase to taxation on superannuation contributions.
That prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to accuse Mr Shorten of misleading voters and not being across the details.
“I have no idea what Bill Shorten was talking about today when he says he won’t be putting increased taxes on superannuation,” Mr Morrison said.
“That is his policy!”
Today, Mr Shorten clarified his position.
“I thought I was being asked if there were unannounced changes to superannuation and we’ve already made the announcements of the changes we’re going to make,” Mr Shorten said.
“But obviously we have changes which we outlined three years ago I should have picked the words better, no question.”
Shadow Finance Minister Jim Chalmers also sought to clarify Labor’s policy on Wednesday.
“Everyone knows that at the end of 2016, almost three years ago, Labor announced superannuation policies,” Mr Chalmers said.
“[Mr Shorten] misheard or misunderstood the question.”
Mr Chalmers said the cost of Labor’s superannuation policy would be released before the election.
Cormann says it’s ‘another Labor lie’
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Sky News that describing Mr Shorten’s comments as the result of confusion was “letting him off the hook”.
“For Bill Shorten to try and suggest that Labor does not have a plan to increase taxes on superannuation should they be elected to Government is completely and utterly dishonest,” Senator Cormann said.
“It is another Labor lie.”
Labor plans to reduce superannuation tax concessions for high income earners, which would see those earning more than $200,000 a year pay double the standard tax on contributions.
It would also end catch-up contributions and concessions given to small business owners.
“Bill Shorten is going to this election threatening to increase taxes on superannuation compared to what the current settings are, there is no question,” Senator Cormann said.
“He’s proposing to lower the income threshold from $250,000 to $200,000 from which the tax on contributions would double from 15 to 30 per cent.
“He’s proposing to remove the deductibility of superannuation contributions, which is particularly bad for self-employed Australians and he’s proposing to reduce non-concession contribution cap from $100,000 to $75,000.
Mr Shorten disputed the Coalition’s claim that his government would increase taxation on superannuation contributions.
“When you close down concessions and loopholes, this is not a massive increase in taxation,” Mr Shorten said.
“We’re just saying we think these resources can be used better.
“Of course when it comes to helping people contribute to their superannuation, we’re not going to be lectured by a Government who, with no mandate and no notice, changed the rules for amounts higher than $1.6 million.”