Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison clash over super changes

Tony Abbott has clashed with Scott Morrison over his super­annuation changes, labelling them “deeply unpopular” with the Coalition’s base, as

Tony Abbott has clashed with Scott Morrison over his super­annuation changes, labelling them “deeply unpopular” with the Coalition’s base, as support builds for the Treasurer to ­increase the cap on after-tax contributions to $1 million.

In a “tetchy” private meeting with a group of Liberal and ­Nationals MPs in Parliament House on Thursday, Mr Abbott confronted Mr Morrison and Minister for Revenue Kelly O’Dwyer about their proposed $6 billion super package. He ­argued the government was wrong to offer super concessions to low-income earners.

The former prime minister argued against plans to offer super concessions to low-income earners and called for the Coalition to dump its proposed cap on post-tax contributions during the Thursday meeting, The Weekend Australian reports.

“(Mr Abbott) went in there looking for a fight; he wasn’t interested in information, he wasn’t interested in listening to his colleagues, he wanted to have a fight,” one MP present at the meeting told the newspaper. “He kept interrupting and he wanted to derail the discussion.”

Mr Abbott also argued for the government to abandon its proposed cap on post-tax contributions.

As Mr Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull seek to reach a consensus with backbench MPs on the contentious election policy, the report revealed that doubling the lifetime cap on non-concessional contributions to $1m would hit the budget bottom line by $750m.

MPs at the meeting said they were “aghast” that Mr Abbott had proposed hitting low-income earners — particularly working mothers — to benefit the wealthy, whom the former leader accused Mr Morrison and Ms O’Dwyer of abandoning.

Mr Abbott is understood to have argued that the Coalition should represent lower taxes and smaller government, prompting a retort from Mr Morrison about policies Mr Abbott had put in place while leader that had ­increased taxes. Amid a series of tense exchanges with the man he believed betrayed him in last year’s leadership spill, Mr Abbott said the super changes ­announced in Mr Morrison’s first budget in May “sent the wrong message about aspiration” and he argued that there should be no cap on after-tax contributions.

When he was prime minister, Mr Abbott ruled out changing superannuation, ­saying it was not a “piggy bank” to be raided.

Increasing the lifetime cap on non-concessional contributions to $750,000 is understood to cost the budget $250m. Removing the retrospective elements but keeping the $500,000 cap would cost $540m. Raising the cap to $1m would cost $750m, but the Treasurer did not present costings for abandoning the non-concessional cap, as advocated by Mr Abbott.

Sources at the meeting say Ms O’Dwyer took aim at Mr Abbott for suggesting the Liberal Party should only look after a narrow base of wealthy constituents, suggesting he had forgotten about the “Howard battlers” and reminded him that the Liberal Party was “not just the party of the privileged”.

On the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset, which benefits those earning less than $37,000, Mr Abbott is understood to have criticised Mr Morrison for wanting to restore the measure that he had scrapped in 2014 when the mining tax was repealed.

“Tony argued that we had suffered political pain for getting rid of it and we won’t get any credit for putting it back,” a source said.

Another said Mr Abbott “was basically arguing that the lowest paid should subsidise the wealthy”.

One female regional Liberal MP who was at the meeting of about 10 MPs, was one said to be “shocked” at his proposal to scrap the policy. Sources said she pushed back against Mr Abbott, saying the policy benefited women and part-time workers, and the government would suffer enormous political damage if it cut the $1.6bn policy to help wealthy superannuants.

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  1. Pingback: business Topics: Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison clash over super changes | T66

  2. The watcher  

    Tony is positioning himself with Bernardi as Captain of the Hard Delcon right of the liberals. Like his last tilt he has no policy, no principles and precious little intelligence. His ambition is only matched by his sense of entitlement and overweening ambition.
    Personally I hope he gets crowned as PM again. It would be the electoral death of the LNP.

    • Elaine Henderson  

      I agree with you The watcher – I’d love to see him back in the Lodge because it would be the death knell for a party that is not at all concerned with everyday Australians, which terms those on low incomes or benefits as leaners and taxed-nots. The only problem with abbott returning to the PMship is the damage he would do to the country between now and the next election – I shudder to think what would happen to the most vulnerable in the community.

  3. Tom  

    Attack the poor to give to the rich has always been Abbott’s creed. He will be back stabbing until he is thrown out of the party. He will always be remembered as the worst Prime Minister that this country has had.

  4. Truth 13  

    When Turnbull, Morrison or Abbott wants to make any changes to the Superannuation, the best place to start it is the Parliament & the members of it. Before they try to teach others, ” how to walk”, they should start their “walk” for themselves. FIRST PUT ALL THE PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE MEMBERS OF THE PARLIAMENT & THE GOVERNOR GENERALS ON A $500,000 OR $750,000 OR EVEN $1 MILLION capped Superannuation. After they put themselves at par with the other, then only they have the “right” to decide about the others. These are a bunch of jokers without any self respect, who wants to decide on the superannuation benefits of the other, but not themselves. They are greedy pigs, who wants to eat everything they can get hold of. MORRISON, START FROM THE PARLIAMENT. WILL YOU ?. I DON’T THINK YOU ARE HONEST ENOUGH TO TO IT. YOU CARRY THE BIBLE IN ONE HAND & POISON & SNAKE, ON THE OTHER. ALL OF YOU ARE VERY SELFISH & GREEDY, WANT TO GET THE MAXIMUM FROM THE PEOPLE, BY HOOK OR CROOK.

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