Australian letters

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

4 June 2016

9:00 AM

A Del Con writes…

Sir, your leading article of 28 May 2016 sets out the terrible choice we face on 2 July: it’s either vote Left or vote further Left. Your advice on how to deal with this quandary was insipid, though: vote Liberal because Labor’s policies for the July election are worse.

The weakness of this approach is contained within the article itself. You point to the fact that Mr Turnbull actually supports many of the Left’s obnoxious policies. We’ll get the Left’s policies anyway but they’ll be slower to arrive under Mr Turnbull. Many voters want a conservative choice. Their traditional choice is disappearing under Mr Turnbull. That won’t eliminate the demand, though. The vacuum will be filled, but by what? Moderation or extremism? Don’t go back to your history books for guidance; it’ll only frighten you.

A true investor is supposed to look at a time frame beyond his own lifetime. A true Conservative should be looking that far ahead, too. We must look further ahead than 2 July 2016. If you want your children and grandchildren to have a conservative choice when they earn the right to vote, the only option is to encourage the Liberal Party to go back to its roots. How can we encourage them?

Subtlety won’t work. If your dog continues to mess on your carpet how do you get it to change its behaviour? Answer, by punishing it. Political parties are no different. How do you punish a political party? Answer, by voting against it. Yes, that will put Labor back in power but they’ll crash under the weight of their incompetence and arrogance. Yes, they’ll inflict serious damage on our country while they’re in office.

But so will a Turnbull Liberal Party. He’ll just do it more slowly and with more style. We’ll arrive at the same dead end anyway. The best long-term answer to the problem set out in your leading article is to punish the Liberal Party by voting against it. That will encourage it to rediscover what it means to be a conservative political party. In the meantime, lie back and think of Whitlam. Your descendants will thank you.
Ken Harris
Edgecliff, NSW

Super flim flam

Sir: Michael Baume’s defence of, and other writers attacks on, the government’s superannuation changes address much of the concerns from the ‘Big end of Town’, but omit to address the much bigger picture of inherent unfairness in the government’s proposed changes.

Take this example: Should a child’s parent die whilst being a member of a super fund with a fund balance and death benefit of $33,000, and during the period of membership, $4,000 tax has been paid on the deceased’s contributions and earnings. In these circumstances, Anti-Detriment benefit allows a refund of this tax via the super fund to the dependent child, making the total received by the child to be $37,000. This anti-detriment benefit has now been deemed to be ‘outmoded’ and in future, the ATO will be retaining the $4,000. Thus, the child is saved the embarrassment of appearing unfashionable or outmoded’.

Or: Take a 60 years old couple who began work in 1972. Because employer superannuation was not available to them until 1992, on average they are likely to have a lower super fund balance than a 50 year old. Their children are no longer dependent and their mortgage is under control. They now have income in excess of their living needs, and have commenced Transition to Retirement plans, where the growth in the fund is untaxed, and they are able to salary sacrifice $35,000 each into their super funds to help achieve their savings goal of funding an independent retirement. During the next 7 years, they had planned to contribute $490,000 in concessional contributions to their super funds. Under the proposed changes, these contributions will be limited to $350,000, and any growth in their Transition to Retirement plans will be taxed. Consequently, this couple are likely to have less money in their superannuation funds and will be more dependent on Centrelink age pension benefits in retirement than they otherwise would have been.

Even when delivered with a pleasant smile, there may not be enough of well-constructed flimflam in this world to convince me as to how these policies will benefit superannuants, their beneficiaries or future tax payers.Yours,
John Lansdowne
Cheltenham Vic


Sir: Please convey my congratulations to Jeremy Clarke for his hilarious “Low Life” column in the May 14 edition. I have always had reservations about Jeremy because of his dubious lifestyle, but after the good therapeutic laugh while reading this article, all is forgiven, Jeremy.
Dr Alex Teare
Dunedin, NZ

Not so tiny

Sir: Roger Alton wonders how “a tiny country miles away from anywhere could dominate theworld’s hardest team sport for so long.” Not so ‘tiny’, Roger: the home of the All Blacks is 58,700 sq kms larger than Great Britain.
Rex Benson
Wellington, NZ

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