Politics

Bill Shorten Seems To Have Forgotten He Promised Tax Increases Worth $30 Billion

Tfw you lose $30 billion down the back of the couch.

Bill Shorten

Poor Bill Shorten’s had a bit of a blunder — yesterday, at a press conference, he confidently told reporters that Labor had “no plans to increase taxes on superannuation”. That’s all well and good, except that back in 2016 Labor famously did promise to introduce new taxes on superannuation that would generate revenue of, oh, just over $30 billion.

A bit of an awkward moment, to say the least. Shorten clarified today, saying that he misheard the question, and thought the journalist was simply asking if there were any more new taxes on the cards.

“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,” he said. “I should have picked the words better, no question.”

Still, $30 billion is a lot of money to forget about — many of the policies Labor’s campaigning on at this election actually rely pretty heavily on that funding. Naturally, the Coalition’s having a field day, and Scott Morrison was out there yesterday telling anyone who’d listen that Shorten was “either lying about it today or he’s just forgotten the last person he hit with higher taxes”.

Before the Libs get too carried away, though, there are two important things to note. One is that, as embarrassing as it is that Bill Shorten forgot about $30 billion, Labor’s proposed changes to superannuation are not some giant new tax that’s going to bludgeon every “ordinary Australian” to death: for the most part, they target wealthier Australians. For example, Labor wants to reduce the high income threshold from $250,000 to $200,000, meaning that people earning between $200,000 and $250,000 per year will be exposed to higher taxes.

The other important thing to note is that while Scott Morrison was busy crowing about Shorten’s slip-up, his government was also refusing to respond to new analysis that suggested its huge promise of bringing the budget back into surplus might stand on shaky ground in the long run.

Okay, that’s enough in big numbers for today. Only 31 days of election season left to go!!


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