Correct inequity, rein in super tax breaks

As a retired financial planner and a beneficiary of the current super regime, I agree with the Herald's editorial on fixing the super tax breaks instead of attacking the poorest and most vulnerable in our community (‘‘Hockey's easy budget fix: super tax perks’’, May 26).

The present system is tax heaven for the wealthy and penalises those on low incomes. For example, someone below the tax threshold pays no tax on income in their hands, but 15 per cent on any employer contributions to superannuation. A person on the top rate by contrast, receives a 30 per cent tax reduction.

This inequity continues in relation to the earnings in the fund, and of course once an individual reaches age 60 and retires all income and lump sums are non-assessable, i.e. non-existent as far as the Australian Tax Office is concerned. According to the Herald's figures there are 9200 funds in Australia which potentially pay pensions of $250,000 a year or more and not one cent in tax.

Barry Spooner Minnamurra

Last week, petrol prices varied 19¢ a litre and yet the Labor Party will vote against a 1¢ a litre increase in excise duty (‘‘Labor MPs will target electorates to make most of budget fury’’, May 22). A 1¢ rise won’t be noticed when such variations happen a few times each week. Australia, however, will have a reduced debt and/or more funds for road infrastructure. Compared with the price of bottled water and soft drinks, petrol, a limited resource, is cheap.

The Labor Party should be helping to remedy the financial mess it has caused, not opposing measures to get Australia back on track for a more sustainable financial future.

David Williams Bayview

I was very surprised to read that somebody called Smart would advocate increasing income tax to balance the budget (Letters, May 26). Wake up, Mike Smart, most prosperous economies in our region with higher income per capita than Australia, like Hong Kong and Singapore, have much lower income tax rates than we have. The best way to restore prosperity, increase employment and balance the budget is to reduce income tax and rely less on it for revenue and find alternative sources of taxation and revenue that will not affect our economic wellbeing.

David Guilbert Rozenman Turramurra

Shepherd can't hear

As chairman of the federal government’s commission of audit, Tony Shepherd released a report recommending drastic cuts in government services and programs (‘‘Not best option: two bridges would have been better, says trust chief’’, May 26). It is clear a huge number of Australians do not agree with him, but Shepherd does not hear them.

As  chairman of the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust, Shepherd supports a $25 million taxpayer-funded bridge over Anzac Parade at Moore Park. Locals, the City of Sydney Council, and some transport advocates disagree, but Shepherd does not hear them.

I hope medical costs don’t rise too quickly, because it appears Shepherd is badly in need of a hearing test.

Lynne Poleson Kingsford

Australia for sale

It seems the Liberal and National parties have now gone international in selling influence to the big end of town (‘‘Accounting giants fund G20 tax talk’’, May 26). This story should be on the front page. If the G20 is to discuss tax, its reform and  loopholes, what are we doing allowing accounting firms to buy a seat at the table to further their own interests? Perhaps rather than saying after the election  “Australia was open for business” Tony Abbott should have said “influential access is up for sale”!

Judith Moore East Maitland

PM is write-on

There are pressing issues for the book industry. Ensuring booksellers are competitive demands the imposition of GST on offshore online retailers.Fair remuneration for copyright creators and creators across all platforms is imperative if Australian writing is to continue to flourish. However, capturing the attention of the government of the day is never easy for the cultural industries. The announcement of the continuation of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards is therefore welcome (‘‘Tony Abbott chooses conservatives to judge the Prime Minister's literary awards’’, smh.com.au, May 24).

Book people aren’t generally conservative in their voting preferences so credit is surely due to both the Prime Minister and Minister for the Arts for attending the Australian book industry’s “night of nights”. No shoes were thrown as the Prime Minister addressed the 400 attendees, nor were there mass walkouts as somewhat breathlessly predicted. If Tony Abbott’s legacy is to be known as the Prime Minister for Books, that can only benefit Australian writers and readers.

Louise Adler President of the Australian Publishers Association, Carlton (Vic)

Religious harmony

At the risk of being accused of pedantry, I must advise Steve Davidson (Letters, May 26) that Judaism is not one of the “world’s four largest religions”, nor is it widely practised in Morocco. That any three religions can actually coexist in harmony is truly remarkable, but if global statistics are any guide the atheists in Morocco probably outnumber the Jewish and Christian populations combined.

Paul Tenison Eastwood

Medical possibility

Please allow me to reassure Barney Ward (Letters, May 26). The Medical Research Future Fund is projected to reach $20 billion in 10 years. As long as not too many of us are deterred from visiting a GP, and the money is well invested, the fund may reach its target. At that point, presumably, the GP co-payment will be scrapped. Won’t it?

John Christie Oatley

No-confidence vote

In Australia, we may be critical of the coup in Thailand, but it could be instructive to have a vote on whether all our politicians should be locked up ("Military junta moves to stifle dissent", May 26√√).

Max Horton Adelaide (SA)

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