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If labor and greens fail to back governments superannuation reform plans were all in trouble

A FAILURE by federal Parliament to agree on tightening tax breaks for superannuation would mean there is little hope of any fix for Australia’s debt-laden finances.

Independent think tank Grattan Institute says the major political parties already agree on most super changes and if they cant manage that, we are in major trouble.


A new Grattan analysis has found that despite loud complaints from some circles, there is public support for tougher new limits on how much money high-income earners can pump into super.

Even after the reforms, super tax breaks will overwhelmingly flow to high-income earners who do not need them, the report states.

It states super tax breaks are forecast to have a lifetime value much greater for high-income earners than the age pension delivers to low-income earners.

For more than a decade, superannuation tax breaks have been absurdly generous to older people on high incomes. They are a major reason why households over age 65 are paying less tax today in real terms than they were 20 years ago but those between 25 and 64 are paying more tax, the report says.

Grattan CEO John Daley said people trying to derail the reforms had claimed that lower and middle income earners would be negatively affected.

But the bottom line is there is just no evidence of it. The vast bulk of additional tax will be paid by the top 4 or 5 per cent of households, he said.

Mr Daley said the Coalition should get support from either Labor or the Greens to get its super changes through parliament.

Theres a grand total of one thing that the ALP disagrees with the government on that costs the Budget money. Theres a whole list of things it agrees on that saves money, he says.

If you cant do a deal with all of that going for you, its hard to see how they will get anything worthwhile done. If we cannot get reform in this situation, then there is little hope for either budget repair or wider economic reform.

We know that this is electorally popular. At the last election the electorates that had more older, wealthier people swung to the ALP less than the rest of the electorates.

Tax accountanting group H & R Block has 750,000 clients mainly from Middle Australia, and its director of tax communications Mark Chapman said there had been little concern among them about the super changes.

There seems to be some inevitability about the changes, but the people who are affected by the proposals are always the ones who shout the loudest, he said.

For the proposal about taxing retirement income (for wealthy retirees), the amount they are suggesting of 15 per cent is still way less than the tax everyone else is paying on their income.


LOWERING the annual cap on pre-tax super contributions such as salary sacrifice and employer payments to $25,000 (Government and Labor agree)

A 15 per cent tax on super earnings in retirement for balances of more than $1.6 million (Government and Labor agree)

A $500,000 lifetime cap on after-tax super contributions, backdated to 2007 (Labor agrees but opposes backdating)

MAINTAIN tax offset for low income earners (Government and Labor agree)

ALLOW all workers to make personal pre-tax contributions (Labor disagrees)

A 15 per cent earnings tax for transition to retirement pensions (Government and Labor agree)

Source: Grattan Institute

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Lobethal bakery facebook backlash over homophobic letter to mt barker courier editor

A SOCIAL media backlash has erupted over comments by an Adelaide Hills bakery owner criticising a local newspaper for “promoting gay and lesbians”.

Facebook users are calling for a boycott of the Lobethal Bakery, after a letter from one of its owners, Ruth Trinkle, was published in The Courier, of Mount Barker.

A Boycott Lobethal bakery for not supporting equality page was set up overnight and has since received more than 800 likes.

Ms Trinkle was criticised over her letter to the newspapers editor, which accused the paper of active promotion of the homosexuality campaign.

The first photo of the letter had been shared over 700 times since it was posted on Facebook.

The majority of the Hills community is Christian and my customers will be offended to read articles promoting gay (sic) and lesbians, she wrote.

I buy The Courier for my customers to read in our shop. I will stop buying the paper out of protest.

It would be an entirely different matter if your article was neutral or against.

It is understood Ms Trinkle is currently overseas.

Her brother-in-law and co-owner, Peter Trinkle, today released a public statement saying the bakerys staff are not homophobic.

The Lobethal Bakery would like to clarify that the letter to the editor in The Courier was not endorsed by the bakery, he said.

We strongly support the freedom of speech and do not discriminate by providing quality service to all customers.

Mr Trinkle said he had absolutely not rejected any customers based on gender or sexuality.

He said he had since received both negative and positive response from the community.

When asked if the incident would affect business, Mr Trinkle said well have to wait and see.

He said the bakery which has shops in Lobethal, Mt Barker, Woodside and Stirling remained supportive of The Courier.

Comments on the Facebook page had called for both boycotting the bakery and for people to deluge it with orders for rainbow cakes.

Margie Fischer, co-ordinator of Hills Feast Festival and Hills resident, said Ms Trinkle must have a very low opinion of her customers if she thought they would be offended by what was published in The Courier.

There are many lesbian and gay Christians who will be highly offended by you saying that being Christian and gay and lesbian are mutually exclusive, she said.

SA Commissioner for Equal Opportunity Anne Gale said Ms Trinkles letter was not unlawful under the Equal Opportunity Act because it was not directed at an individual.

It doesnt mean at a community level we would condone such actions, she said.

It is disappointing to see such comments towards homosexual people.

The Courier editor Ian Osterman stood by his decision to publish the letter.

Shes got the right to say it ... (the comment) doesnt get over the line, he said.

Shes probably not going to send in another letter any time soon.

He disputed the claim by Ms Trinkle that The Courier had run a homosexuality campaign.

Mr Osterman said the paper had published two stories based on Mt Barker Councils decision to fly the rainbow flag during Feast Festival.

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