Karl Stefanovic clashes with Bill Shorten over proposed superannuation shakeup

A fired-up Karl Stefanovic has slammed Bill Shorten over Labor’s push to reform superannuation.

The Today Show host clashed with the Government Services Minister on Friday, accusing the government of introducing a ‘new tax’ on high-earners.

He took issue with reports the government was considering capping tax concessions on retirement savings of more than $3 million.

The proposal is among several of the changes being considered by the Labor government after it launched a consultation on reforming retirement savings laws this week.

A fired-up Karl Stefanovic has slammed Bill Shorten over a proposal to introduce massive reforms to superannuation

Addressing a bee-themed conference on Thursday, Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones compared the government’s proposal to cut down the number of Australians withdrawing their super early to managing ‘honey’ in the best interests of a ‘hive’.

‘In the self-managed sector, there are over 600,000 funds holding around $870billion in retirement savings – that’s a lot of honey. We want to make sure there’s plenty of honey to go around’.

Stefanovic took issue with the comparison and likened the metaphor to communism – where the collective is prioritised over individual wealth. 

‘I didn’t realise that our super honey was for the collective, comrade,’ he quipped.

The Today Show host slammed suggestions the government would impose a cap on tax concessions labelling it a ‘new tax’.

He said Mr Jones appeared to all but confirm the change was being seriously considered when he made the superannuation comparison to honey on Thursday.

‘He did confirm the government is looking to impose higher taxes on funds over $3million, just in case, anyone missed that buzz from the bee, that is a new tax, is it not?’ he said.

Australians can deposit up to $27,500 a year into their super and pay a concessional tax rate of just 15 per cent. 

This concession costs $53 billion a year, with wealthier Australians putting money into super paying a concessional rate that is well below the marginal tax rate of 45 per cent for those earning more than $180,000.

Two-thirds of these concessions go to the top 20 per cent of income earners, and less than 1 per cent of people have super savings of more than $3million, with that group having an average pool of $5.8million.

Mr Shorten defended the decision questioning whether it was fair high-earners should be subsidised by taxpayers.

‘There’s about one per cent of people who have over $3million in their superannuation. The average for this group of people is $5.8million,’ he said.

‘I think he was raising the question, should taxpayers be subsidising someone who’s already got nearly $6million in their superannuation account?’

3AW host Neil Mitchell sided with Stefanovic labelling the proposal’ class warfare’.

‘It is a new tax, come on Bill, it is a new tax isn’t it? You’re not going to try and spin that one?’ he said.

Mr Shorten defended the decision questioning whether it was fair high-earners should be subsidised by taxpayers

Mr Shorten defended the decision questioning whether it was fair high-earners should be subsidised by taxpayers

Mr Shorten fired taking a stab at Mitchell for his comment.  

‘First of all, Neil. I’m glad you’ve stepped up to defend the people with $6million in their superannuation account,’ he said.

‘The fact of the matter is, we did say at the last election, we want to legislate the objective of superannuation.’

Mitchell clapped back at the idea high-earners should be punished.

‘These awful people who have been successful enough to get money into their super account. What awful people they’re successful,’ he said. 

Stefanovic slammed Mr Shorten for breaking an election promise after the Labor government promised there would be no massive changes. 

Mr Shorten said he was not confirming the cap on the tax concession would be passed and that it was still in the stages of discussion. 

‘Do you think it’s right people who go to work every day pay their taxes, should be paying their taxes to be giving a concession to someone who has several million dollars in their account?’ he said. 

Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Wednesday appeared to suggest the changes on taxes and early access would hardly be radical.

‘We’re not contemplating major changes to superannuation,’ he told Sydney radio station 2GB.

‘We think that there should still be generous tax concessions for people to save for their retirement.’ 

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