Don't hit my coal miners
Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon warns the government he'll fight any superannuation tax changes that penalise coal miners earning $140k a year.PT1M42S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2gtlq 620 349 March 27, 2013
Former chief whip Joel Fitzgibbon has joined other Labor MPs concerned about the prospect of taxing the superannuation earnings of the wealthy.
After the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, again refused to rule out such a tax, Mr Fitzgibbon feared Labor might botch the definition of what constitutes a ''wealthy Australian''.
"You can be on a quarter of a million dollars family income a year and you're still struggling": Joel Fitzgibbon. Photo: Brockwell Perks
''In Sydney's west you can be on a quarter of a million dollars family income a year and you're still struggling,'' Mr Fitzgibbon said.
''Coal miners in my electorate earning 100, 120, 130, 140 thousand dollars a year are not wealthy.''
He said he would consider changes to the taxing of superannuation at the ''very, very, very high end'' but would not brook changes that affect ''ordinary people like my coal miners living in the Hunter''.
With the budget approaching, Labor needs to find billions of dollars to pay for programs such as the school funding reforms and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Mr Fitzgibbon's dissenting comments follow those of former resources minister Martin Ferguson, who said Labor needed to stop waging a ''class war'', and former minister for regional Australia Simon Crean, who said raising taxes on superannuation would amount to ''trashing'' Labor's brand.
All three men sacrificed their jobs last week by supporting Kevin Rudd as leader over Ms Gillard.
When asked about Mr Fitzgibbon's comments on Thursday, Trade Minister Craig Emerson said that he was ''not going to get into a debate with Joel [Fitzgibbon] about whether $250,000 is the right line or the wrong line''.
The important thing, he told ABC radio, was that the government ensured a sustainable fiscal position for the next 20 years.
Where there are tax concessions ''particularly at the very high end that are going to damage the fiscal position of the government . . . of course we're going to need to have a look at that''.
The Prime Minister told ABC Radio on Wednesday that when she thought about superannuation, her focus was on the ''interests of working people''.
But Ms Gillard left open the possibility of raising taxes on the superannuation earnings of wealthier Australians.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott continued his attacks on Ms Gillard on Wednesday, accusing her of ''mortgaging your future'' by leaving open the possibility of increasing taxes on superannuation earnings for high-income earners.
But Mr Abbott has previously said that if elected the Coalition would reintroduce the 15 per cent tax on superannuation for 3.6 million people earning $37,000 or less.
This amounts to a tax slug of up to $500 per year for 1 in 3 workers, the government says.
Mr Abbott said super savings would be secure under any government he led.''I want to assure the hard-working people of Australia that their superannuation will be safe under a Coalition government,'' he said on Wednesday. ''We will make no unexpected adverse changes to superannuation in our first term.''
Opposition superannuation spokesman Mathias Cormann on Thursday echoed Mr Abbott's comments saying the status quo should remain.
Senator Cormann said the federal government could not afford the low-income super tax offset.