Australian Labor hostile to older voters

Australian Labor hostile to older voters, by Simon Benson.

Labor’s tax philosophy is based on an easily understood principle: tax those who aren’t your people and funnel it through to those who are.

It is a formula most often cloaked in terms of fairness and ­inequality.

So the extraordinary thing about Chris Bowen’s tax taunt yesterd­ay was not so much what he said, but that he said it at all.

The opposition Treasury spokesman’s challenge to older voters that they don’t have to vote Labor if they don’t like his plans to take $55 billion in dividend imputation cash refunds from them, tore away that cloak. He may have been stating the obvious, but it was a rare ­articulation of Labor’s hostility to this demographic and the politics at play. …

Australian Taxation Office data shows that the most numerous group claiming tax credits on their Australian share dividends — but not necessarily the refunds — were women older than 75. The aggregate amounted to a value of about $1.1bn a year.

Labor is likely to get away with the cash grab, however. Only those who receive the refunds have any idea what in fact they are and how they work. As far as Labor is concerned, these are largely peopl­e who don’t vote Labor.

The assumption is that very few other people care and Labor is ­unlikely to lose a seat over this ­policy.