30 January 2019
Transcript - #2019006, 2019

Interview with Tom Elliott, Drive, 3AW 693 Melbourne

ELLIOTT:

Okay, so the Assistant Treasurer, who happens to be the Federal Member for Fadden on the Gold Coast, has rung back, or rung us with right of reply. Stuart Robert, good afternoon.

ROBERT:

Tom, how are you?

ELLIOTT:

Good. Did you hear what Chris Bowen had to say moments ago?

ROBERT:

I did. I was just coming back from speaking at the Annual Superannuation Chairs' gathering in the Yarra Valley.

ELLIOTT:

Exciting.

ROBERT:

Driving along, listening to your dulcet tones and up comes Chris with a whole bunch of things that are wrong. So I thought I'd take the opportunity to call in.

ELLIOTT:

Alright, which things are wrong?

ROBERT:

Well, Chris, of course says if you're a pensioner you'll be exempt from the retirees tax, which is incorrect. Labor's policy says if you're a pensioner as at the 28th of March you'll be exempt from the tax, but if you become a pensioner on the 29th of March you'll actually be hit with the tax.

ELLIOTT:

Ah, well I must admit I did not know that. Okay, so even if one now qualifies for the pension one will still be stripped of the franking credit rebates?

ROBERT:

If you qualify as a pensioner from the 29th of March this year onwards. So Labor's now creating two classes of pensioners, which I think is outrageous. We shouldn't be separating Australians; we should be bringing Australians together, and of course he defends it by saying that this is the only tax offset or refundable tax offset and that's not true at all. If he's going to be the Shadow Treasurer he should understand tax law. The NRAS, for example, is a refundable tax offset, the National Rental Affordability Scheme. So this is not a one-off refundable tax offset in terms of franking credits, there are others. So this idea that it won't hurt you, it won't harm Australians, it's a one-off, there's no other forms of tax in the country, is simply not correct. 900,000 Australians will be impacted, 60% of them with a taxable income below $18,200.

ELLIOTT:

Okay, but there was one thing I said at the start of my comments that, I mean, both sides of politics have fiddled with superannuation law. For example, I mean, Kelly O'Dwyer a couple of years ago made herself pretty unpopular with people when she reduced the amount that you can contribute each year and so forth. Like, could we ever have a commitment from both sides of politics not to fiddle with people's superannuation?

ROBERT:

I think that's wise. There's been 33 budgets and 33 changes in super and I've made it very clear in a previous speech, it's up on my Treasury website, that there will be no adverse tax changes for super from us for quite a while in that space.

ELLIOTT:

So if you, if you hold onto power, you you won't do anything bad for people's superannuation for a while?

ROBERT:

In the next five years I've made it very clear in a speech (*), it's on the public record, that there'll be no adverse changes in tax to super because we understand that we don't want to attack the aspiration of Australians or attack retirement voters. Unfortunately that's what that's Chris Bowen and Bill Shorten are doing.

ELLIOTT:

Thank you, Mr Robert. Stuart Robert there, the Assistant Treasurer. He's the Federal Member for Fadden on the Gold Coast. Just happened to be driving around the Yarra Valley, as you do here in Victoria.