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Governments come and go

Governments come and go

There’s an old saying in politics; a government is only as good as its opposition.

  • Contributed by Wayne Debernardi
  • May 31, 2019
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Or as Benjamin Disraeli phrased: "No government can be long secure without a formidable opposition". Disraeli knew this to be true having served twice as prime minister of the United Kingdom and also as leader of the opposition for two terms in the 1800s.

Of course, it’s not just politicians that form ‘formidable opposition’. Just look back to the federal election in May of this year.

If you are a betting person, no one would have blamed you for putting money on Labor in the lead up to the election. Many people saw them as the favourite to win the leadership battle. You would have lost your wager.

Some could argue that the Coalition won on the merit of its policy direction, while others would argue that Labor lost the race instead. 

Whichever, way you look at it, electors voted and there was a winner and a loser. It is more than plausible that Labor lost the election when voters in various segments of the community felt under attack.

Labor’s plan to increase expenditure in critical areas of health, education and climate change had to pass its own business case. Increased expenditure without a large offset by increased revenue would have failed all economic testing and plunge Australia into further deficit.

Labor policies to increase taxes, remove franking credits and scrap negative gearing did not strike an accord, particularly with older self-funding retirees and others in transition to retirement mode; people who were building the necessary capital to fund their retirement and ease the onus on future government funded pensions.

This means, as should be the case, voters carried a strong voice of opposition. Labor failed to read elector sentiment.

The IPA constantly advocates on behalf of members. The IPA also advocates for small business, the general public and the broader Australian economy.

In the lead up to the election and months prior, the IPA advocated strongly against Labor’s proposed $3,000 cap on tax deductions for tax advice. Firstly, the basis of the proposal was ill-conceived, using a small sample and aggregated data that included not only tax agent fees but instances of ATO interest charges and litigation costs.

Secondly, we believe such policy could dissuade people from attaining much needed tax advice from their public accountant, as a $3,000 cap does not reflect a person’s life circumstances. Divorce, sale of business, change of business structure and other factors can mean greater levels of advice and time are required, and therefore, a cap would be inequitable.

The IPA will continue its advocacy work in support of good policy but also in calling out bad policy, regardless of which political party is in power. All Australians should have a voice in our future economic wellbeing.

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