The Labor Party would rather tax retirees than backpackers, Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan said today.
Senator Canavan was responding to criticism by Keppel State MP Brittany Lauga of the Federal Government plan to tax working-holiday visa-holders.
“Brittany should explain why Labor has a policy to tax retirees’ superannuation but she thinks backpackers should work tax-free,” he said.
“It’s not fair that people who have worked and saved all their lives should suddenly have the rules changed by Labor, if they were ever to win power in a federal election, and see their superannuation heavily taxed.
“Retirees built up savings through superannuation under a clear set of rules that guided their retirement and investment plans. Now, after they have retired, Labor wants to changes the rules. That’s like waiting till a football game’s over, then changing the rules to alter the score. It’s not on.
“Now, Brittany is arguing that while retirees should pay more tax, backpackers should pay virtually none. That’s simply not fair and equitable.”
Senator Canavan said the high tax-free threshold of $18,200 on income earned each year, and the fact backpackers often took short-term employment and did not have high annual earnings, meant that many backpackers were paying little or no tax.
“Everybody knows the last federal Labor government left Australia with a debt and deficit disaster and our economy has to be repaired. To help do that, Brittany wants to get more tax out of Capricorn Coast retirees. Personally, I prefer to see backpackers pay their fair share.”