FOR decades voters have been told to choose between left and right. Each "side" says that they are right and the other side is wrong. This is a false argument. People do not have to make this sort of choice because all decisions contain issues which transcend this arbitrary division. Global warming is one issue where the facts of science tell us that trouble is brewing for our economy as well as "real life" problems. It is not a left/right issue. Issues require a consensus (bi-partisan support) to be actioned. This means there needs to be consultation and transparent decision-making that includes real science rather than lobbyists' views or partisan "predictive" modelling of the consequences. Independent candidates and some parties can offer more centrist approaches which are inclusive of many views without causing divisions. It is common around the world for coalitions to form after elections which enable inclusion of diverse views and often results in better decisions to suit an entire nation. Let's vote for non-divisive people who will be inclusive and enable decisions with a focus on community needs and values rather than partisan views.
Scott Bell-Ellercamp, Clarence Town
Sums equal house crisis
I HAVE not seen from Scott Morrison or Bill Shorten any figures regarding the affordability of their new first home buyers scheme. Here is an approximation. The scheme is available to single people with an income below $120,000 and couples with an income below $200,000. In the Sydney area the average price of any house or unit is $1 million. Let's take the example of a single person earning $120,000 who has managed to save the five per cent deposit on the average dwelling, i.e. $50,000. Their loan will be $950,000. The annual interest on the loan at 4 per cent will be $38,000. Now add on whatever the lending institution wants to reduce the principal, and you have a figure which would be very difficult for that person to repay; especially considering that homeowners are also responsible for insurance, rates and maintenance, costs which renters do not have to pay.
Joan Lambert, Adamstown
'Retiree tax' is ageist
THE definition of discrimination is the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age or sex. With that in mind how can a tax that is widely called "the retiree tax" not be ageist, and therefore discrimination? Our leaders stand on their political pulpit and preach to us to treat all people equally. Yet, when they see an opportunity to grab some extra money they seize it with both hands, regardless of who it discriminates against. One of the core values of this country and our political system is anti-discrimination, so how can a politician not only sanction this but encourage it? Most people don't mind helping out their community when asked, but with this tax no one is asking. They are demanding. How would you feel if there was a knock at the door and someone demanded a quarter of your income "for the good of the nation"? Will there be any more new taxes and which group will be targeted next? Time will tell.
Dave Burgess, Edgeworth
Equity for taxpayers
I THANK Colin Fordham (Letters, 13/5) for giving me an opportunity to correct an error introduced by the Newcastle Herald when it printed my letter (Letters, 8/5). My letter did not reference trade union superannuation, it referred to trade unions and churches who pay no tax. Both organisations have significant investments in property, shares etc. and both receive franking credits from their Australian share portfolios which, because they pay no tax, would be lost under Labor's plans for retirees, mainly self-funded retirees. My point is simple: if franking credits paid to SMSFs in pension mode in excess of their tax obligation is a "gift", then why should trade unions receive that "gift" when they pay no tax? This issue is one of equity, you cannot treat two taxpayers with the same income differently. Obviously in Bill Shorten's and Labor's world, fairness is optional depending on who you are.
John Davies, Newcastle East
I HAVE been working as a tax consultant for 15 years so I know a thing or two about franking credits. Franking credits simply represent tax the government has collected from a company that has made profits. For example, a shareholder may receive a $10,000 share of company profits, which the company has paid tax at 30 per cent, so the left over $7000 ''franked dividend' is paid. Now if you were that lucky shareholder but had no other income for the year, you would have $10,000 of taxable income along with a $3000 'franking credit'. And guess what - even though $10,000 is below your tax-free threshold and you will pay no tax on it, $3000 is coming your way! In other words, you receive a $3000 share of government revenue for simply being a shareholder whose personal annual taxable income is below your tax-free threshold. So it doesn't take an economic wizard to work out that paying out tax revenue to all shareholders in these circumstances is not sustainable ... and that maybe it would be better spent on something else. Limiting this bonus to those whose income and assets allow them to receive a part pension doesn't mean those that miss out are paying a 'retiree tax'. They haven't paid tax in the first place. If someone is trying to tell you this they either don't understand the dividend imputation system or they are telling porkies.
Paul Buckman, Belmont North
Rates rise spending
IPART totally rejected Port Stephens Council's request for an extraordinary rate increase, after that council unsuccessfully argued it needed the increase to address its infrastructure backlog. Interestingly, Newcastle City Council used the same argument, successfully, several years ago, to justify its 54 per cent rates increase. Problem is, Newcastle's infrastructure backlog has blown out, not reduced. With such a secretive council, it is hard to calculate just how much of Newcastle's huge rate increase has disappeared into "glamour" projects, such as the costly move to the rented West End offices, and how much has been wasted on Supercars-related works, such as re-sealing the same roads several times, removing healthy mature trees on the circuit, and providing VIP lunches. If we could gain full public access to precise costings, perhaps the public's suspicions could be allayed.