SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Bill Shorten has developed a habit during this election campaign, that in the rare occasions that he fronts up to do media interviews, he then tells what seems to be seems to be outright lies as part of those interviews. Let’s just have a look at his performance today when he fronted up and did morning FM breakfast. He said and I quote: “the income that people get in retirement from their dividend or their shares, that won’t be taxed.” Well Mr. Shorten, that’s not true.

The truth is that the income that Australians get on their dividends or their shares in retirement will be taxed under your plans. Will be taxed heavily under your plans because people will be taxed above what their effective tax rate would be otherwise. What does all this mean? What it means is that in terms of people’s dividends where they’ve been fully franked by companies, taxes have already been paid and where taxes have already been paid people then only get it back under the Dividend imputation Scheme if they’ve actually earned that back as part of what their nominal tax would otherwise be.

To try and bring it into even simpler terms this is a case where people shouldn’t be paying anymore on it and less – anymore than they would relative to any other income they got. Mr Shorten’s approach in terms of, his claims around his retiree tax policy is either one where clearly he doesn’t understand it or he’s just behaving like Pinocchio. Every day he goes out and says to retirees it’s a gift. Well it’s not a gift back to retirees. Those retirees, whether you’re in the 1,000,000 Australians who will be hit by these changes or the 50,000 pensioners who will be hit, those individuals are paying their taxes like any other Australian. And those individuals are in the circumstance where, if Bill Shorten gets his way, they will effectively not be getting or be paying more tax on their incomes than would otherwise be the case.

And the disappointing thing here is that of course Paul Keating went out there and argued very clearly early on for the fact that the Labor Party recognised in previous days that Australians should not be taxed twice when it came to their income and should not be taxed above what should otherwise be paid. Mr Shorten’s proposals will tax people more than they would pay if they earnt that income by any other means. That’s the simple point here. If retirees, if pensioners who are receiving that income as part of their retiree savings, as part of their superannuation plans, as part of their self-funded, self-managed superannuation plans, they’d be receiving a lower tax rate than would they would get as a result of what Mr. Shorten is proposing to do here.        

So, the question here is why does Mr. Shorten keep fronting up and doing these radio interviews where he claims there’ll be no tax impact where there will be a tax impact. Why does he keep fronting up and saying it’s a gift when it’s not a gift? Taxes are already being paid and people are only getting it back if their nominal tax rate is lower then what it would be if they actually deserve to get it back because if they’d earnt it by some other means they wouldn’t have had that tax paid on those earnings. They’re the questions that Mr. Shorten keeps dodging. Why is it that he is misleading the 1,000,000 affected Australians especially those self-funded retirees, those pensioners who will face impact?

JOURNALIST: On Thursday, Scott Morrison refused to rule out further changes to industrial relations policy if the Coalition is re-elected. Can you do that now?

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Well the Government has no plans in terms of further changes to industrial relations policies. The simple fact of this election is that the Labor Party are the ones suggesting that they’re going to change the way in which the independent umpire works. They’re the ones who said they’re going to override the decisions of the independent umpire. They’re the ones who’ve said they’re going to inject some sort of new terminology that they refuse to define in this election campaign. They’re the ones who are proposing changes but refusing to outline the details.

JOURNALIST: So, the Productivity Commission reviewed workplace relations laws in 2015. The Government has never responded to it and now you’ve said you’ve got no plans for further changes. Does that mean you’re ruling out within the next term, any industrial relations changes beyond what’s currently in your policy?

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: What it means is exactly what I said. We have no plans for further changes and the Labor Party are the ones who have plans for changes in that space at this election and they’re plans that they have refused to detail. Can anybody tell us exactly what it is that Mr Shorten means when he stands up and promises, “a living wage?” It’s a glib line that he uses but he’s put absolutely no detail behind it.

JOURNALIST: The Liberal candidate for Canberra, Mina Zaki says she has a presidential order renouncing her Afghan citizenship, but that’s not the document she produced to the AEC as part of their Section 44 checklist. If she is eligible to stand for parliament, why doesn’t she just release that document?   

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Well I understand that all appropriate guarantees have been provided as part of the process of her endorsement and I think all Australians would understand that the political situation in Afghanistan has been a complex one over many years now but we are confident in relation to her candidacy at every step that has been taken to ensure that she has successfully renounced her dual citizenship.

JOURNALIST: Should we have a referendum to reform Section 44 so that it’s easier for people from diverse backgrounds like Mina Zaki to run for Parliament?

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: We’ve put in place reforms at this election that ensures that as part of the nomination process just as we did in terms of – as part of the parliamentary reporting process that there is clear disclosure there. Like every other election campaign there will no doubt be a review of this one undertaken by the joint standing committee on electoral matters and that would be the right place to canvass any of those issues as to how the reforms will be applied in relation to Section 44 prior to this election have applied during this election and if any further reform of them is required ahead of the next election.      

JOURNALIST: Other than income tax cuts what is the Coalition going to do in its first 100 days of office?

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Well if we’re re-elected it’s not about the first 100 days it’s about the next three years and the next decade. Our next decade will see us eliminate the 37-cent to the dollar tax bracket. It will says deliver on a plan to create 1.25 million jobs across Australia, it’ll see us help to create 250,000 jobs for young Australians including our plan to deliver 80,000 apprenticeships. It will see us deliver on the plan the Prime Minister has announced this morning in relation to support for manufacturing industries in Australia. How we give best possible support in the manufacturing sector for new innovation and higher value products as well as overseas promotion of the Australian made brand. It will see investment in mental health services, it’ll see delivery of the 700 different measures that were outlined in the Budget just a few weeks ago.    

JOURNALIST: But other than income tax, very little of that requires legislation is the Coalition just coasting now? Is everything going – just ticking along as it should be?

SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Ah well, we have got Australia to a position, where we’ve seen strong jobs growth, brought the Budget to a position of surplus, are in a position where we are able to deliver sweeping tax reform and eliminate bracket creep for the vast majority of Australians and we have a Budget that outlines comprehensively, 700 different measures across all portfolio areas that are designed to deliver the best possible support to Australians without the need for Labor’s higher taxes or the reality that Bill Shorten will come after Australians money, whether their retirees, whether their homeowners, whether they are small business people, investors or whether they’re simply paying their  electricity bills or buying a new car. Thanks guys.