Election 2019 follies 2: Who won the first TV debate?

I can tell you who won the studio audience’s vote – Bill Shorten by a country mile. 48 undecided voters were selected by YouGov Galaxy who run Newspoll for The Australian. The West Australian reports:

    After the debate, 25 emerged giving their vote to Bill Shorten, with 12 giving theirs to Scott Morrison.

    11 of the audience members said they could not decide.

However, a television experience in a lounge room is very different from the experience of a studio audience. My immediate reaction was:

    irrespective of what the audience thinks, Shorten won the debate with daylight second. It’s seldom as decisive as it was this time.

To understand why I said that, let me tell you about the great debate between John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon for the 1960 US presidential election. As I remember it, Kennedy was articulate and charming, whereas Nixon had a 5 o’clock shadow on his face, and the make-up started to melt under the heat of the TV arc lights, so that he looked shifty and sinister. Professional debaters scored it to Nixon on the basis of what they actually said, but people who saw the debate on TV thought Kennedy won hands down.

This account The day politics and TV changed forever says Nixon had been sick, but the reasoning is along similar lines.

    Throughout the 60-minute program set in a Chicago TV studio, the 43-year-old Kennedy “looked to be radiating health,” said presidential historian Robert Gilbert. Kennedy wore a dark suit and had a wide smile and vivid tan.

    Nixon, on the other hand, appeared pale and a bit listless. He had just gotten out of the hospital, where he had lost weight after a knee injury. In a gray, ill-fitting suit and hastily added pancake makeup, Nixon looked — even if he did not necessarily sound — a pale shadow of the aggressive, composed senator from Massachusetts.

Rational people may well agree with historian Henry Steele Commager who said he hoped “TV debates will be eliminated from future presidential campaigns” after the 1960 debate:

    “The present formula of TV debate is designed to corrupt the public judgment and, eventually, the whole political process,” he wrote. “The American presidency is too great an office to be subjected to the indignity of this technique.”

But we are stuck with it and the article’s author, Greg Botelho, is right, politics and TV changed forever on that day.

Going into the debate, I thought Morrison would be more agile verbally, and to me he had better presentation skills, when he wasn’t being filmed playing 25 different kinds of sport.

The Conversation asked three experts to give judgement of the debate after the event.

Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne said democracy was the winner and sat pretty much on the fence.

Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSW, said:

    Scott Morrison won the first leaders’ debate hands down. He was clearer and more articulate on all issues, and took the debate up to the opposition leader.

I don’t think it ended that way, and I don’t agree that:

    Shorten looked like a man under pressure, following the Newspoll today showing his lead narrowing to 51-49.

    Morrison, by contrast, was at ease and relished the opportunity to show his command of policy detail…

He’s not even up to speed on the Newspoll, which wasn’t quite what it looks. More on that soon.

Marian Sawer, Emeritus Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Australian National University said, not much to see here, but this was interesting:

    The style was also predictable, with Morrison getting in some folksy references to cars and footy, and Shorten presenting himself as more in touch with the lives of working families, their childcare costs and lack of wages growth.

    Shorten came across as the more consensual leader, saying he agreed with the government on some issues. He got a round of applause when he praised Morrison for his mental health policies. He did have some digs, though, about preference deals and Clive Palmer’s digital wallpaper being sent around Australia while still not paying his workers.

I thought Shorten’s “digs” were hitting the mark when Morrison was ranting to the point of incoherence towards the end.

I thought Morrison had the best of it for the first few questions, and the moderator was doing a better job than the ABC normally would, albeit he was allowing Morrison to interrupt and go well over. A timing count would have seen Morrison 60-40 at least.

On climate change Shorten missed some opportunities, and on asylum seekers, he took the easy road of emphasising consensus when there are real differences in the policies.

The debate turned when it came to franking credits, which was a surprise. Probably missed by most, we had the rank dishonesty of Morrison calling people with self-managed super funds pensioners. In the jargon of superannuation, after you turn 70, I think, you are required to take pension from you superannuation capital, again I think (I’m not personally involved because I have no super) a minimum of 5% pa of your super balance, paid quarterly. But I have never heard the retirees using this facility called pensioners, the payment is a pension but they remain superannuants. Some of these ‘pensioners’ get more than a million dollars a year.

When Morrison accused Shorten of lying about pensioners being involved, when he would have known that Labor’s policy is very specifically that no-one with a full or part pension is affected by their franking credits policy, it was a signal that the gloves were off, that Morrison was prepared to say anything it takes, at the expense of the truth if necessary. Somehow this came through in his body language.

This is what I wrote on Mark’s Facebook:

    but ScoMo did himself in by interrupting, being rude and emotional, and worst sin, turning the side of his face to the camera and looking at Bill. So Bill, smiling into the camera, and being courteous throughout, became the dominant figure, where raising his eyebrow had meaning. ScoMo looked like an upset puppy yapping at his master. I couldn’t believe what I saw, but Bill won with daylight second, irrespective of what the studio audience might think. In the end ScoMo in summary was out of gas, and then at the bonus question at the end Bill declined to be negative about him. (Slightly edited)

It was notable that when asked to say something he admired about Shorten, Morrison was obviously caught short, and could only offer that Shorten, like himself, represented the people in parliament.

I would love to hear what an expert in body language said about the debate. I recall one such of Rudd and Howard in 2007, and it was illuminating. Shorten was told to keep watching the camera, and he did. Morrison will not make the same mistake next time. Shorten was able to use facial expressions, like a raised eyebrow, to counter the stream of words coming at him, especially about Clive Palmer. Shorten was obviously told to smile a lot, and he managed to make it seem natural most of the time, once looking as though he was about to p*ss himself laughing.

Not everyone saw the debate the same. In late night talkback, one woman saw Morison as the very model of courtesy, and Shorten the one who rudely interrupted.

In the Courier Mail this morning, I was surprised to see regular political reporter Renee Viellaris say that Shorten was “more sincere” and “more connected with the audience”. If Morrison wants voters to see him as a league-loving, curry cooking, daggy dad about to win an election, according to the ABC, he may in the end struggle with that.

How much any of this matters is hard to say. The conventional wisdom is that you can lose an election in a leaders’ debate, but you don’t win one. Neither contestant did themselves irreparable damage. Pre-poll voting started on Monday, and it is happening in record numbers. Perhaps as many as 40% will vote that way.

A Morgan poll, reported at the ABC found that 76% had made up their mind before the election was called.

    While comparisons are an inexact science, pollster John Scales of JWS Research conducted similar research in the wake of the 2016 election that painted a very different picture.

    Those results showed almost the reverse of the current numbers, with only 31 per cent deciding before the start of the 2016 campaign and 65 per cent deciding during. A further 4 per cent could not say when they made up their minds.

Key points:

  • A Roy Morgan SMS poll found 76 per cent of voters had already decided who they would vote for when the election was called
  • The poll found 43.5 per cent of voters were paying “not much” attention to the campaign
  • The poll found Queensland voters were the most engaged with the campaign so far

ABC has done a fact check of some of the claims made in the debate.

55 thoughts on “Election 2019 follies 2: Who won the first TV debate?”

  1. didn’t work out how to watch it so just depending on what some people said and my observation of how both leaders behave when they cop a difficult question from the likes of Leigh Sales.
    Scott comes across to me as a shallow, bullying smartarse while Bill comes across as someone who has thought through what he thinks needs to be done in Aus if it is to have a fair future.

  2. Katharine Murphy makes the fair assessment (based on the advertising I’ve seen from all parties) that Shorten offered policies while Morrison promised that he’s not Shorten. A classic Liberal campaign strategy.

  3. Brian, you’re right about super…. drawing down a superannuation account balance is the ‘pension phase’.

    But most people think the word “pensioners” refers to retirees receiving full or part aged pensions from the govt. Younger recipients being welfare bludgers.

    At superguide.com.au they list the ‘pension payment factors’ for the 2018/9 financial year:

    Age/ Minimum draw down

    Under 65 / 4%
    65-74 / 5%
    75-79 / 6%
    80-84 / 7%
    85-89 / 9%
    90-94 / 11%
    95 + / 14%

    The guide says superannuation with its tax concessions is “designed to provide retirement income” (rather than being a tax-effective method of transferring wealth to your offspring).

    Another term tossed around is “self-funded retirees”. It’s apposite to say that some of the self-funding arises through tax concessions, hence it is socially-funded.

  4. Ambi: As far as I could work out the figures above apply to “account based pensions” if they are used to help a person get a normal pension as well. The impression in the link you gave to a superannuation adviser implied that everyone should be running down their super once they turned 65.

  5. Yesterday, I attended a public forum, sponsored by the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association, at Bathurst to meet the Calare Electorate 2019 candidates, for an opportunity to put a question on looming petroleum fuel security and climate change challenges.

    Of the seven candidates standing for the federal parliament lower house seat of Calare, only two candidates showed up – Andrew Gee MP (Nationals, current incumbent) and Jess Jennings (Labor). The Greens candidate sent apologies for being unable to attend and David Harvey (who represented the NSW Greens for the seat of Bathurst at the recent NSW state election) was there as a stand-in to represent the Australian Greens. The other four candidates were not available for scrutiny (Sam Romano – Shooters Fishers & Farmers, Shuyi Chen – Christian Democratic Party, Beverley T. Cameron – United Australia Party, Stephen Bisgrove – Liberal Democrats). (See Western Advocate article headlined Andrew Gee and Jess Jennings face off in Bathurst CPSA election forum).

    IMO it was a disappointing exercise. IMO most of the question time was squandered on the Labor policy of abolishing the franking credit rebate and there was little time for other important issues.

    I gained the impression that most of the audience there yesterday appeared more concerned about losing their franking credit rebates and unconcerned by the looming existential threat of dangerous climate change to their children and grandchildren.

    IMO the audience mood appeared hostile to both the Labor and Greens representatives.

    I may be wrong, but I gained the impression the forum moderator was perhaps a little biased in favour towards Andrew Gee.

    I did have the opportunity to speak briefly with both Gee and Jennings after the forum ended.

    We live in interesting times.

  6. Could it be, GM, that voters’ views on climate change have developed slowly over time, but the franking credits rebate policy has come like a bolt from the blue?

    Their votes might still be strongly influenced by other matters? ??

    Just wondering.

  7. Ambigulous (Re: MAY 3, 2019 AT 1:04 PM)

    Could it be, GM, that voters’ views on climate change have developed slowly over time, but the franking credits rebate policy has come like a bolt from the blue?

    Jess Jennings (Labor candidate) said the Labor policy on franking credit rebates was set more than a year ago, so it was not as if it was released “out of the blue”. He also said that Australia is the only country in the world that has this generous feature and it is no longer sustainable – he said Australia can no longer afford it.

    There’s always the option of reinvesting elsewhere. Of course Labor has to first win government, then have the numbers to get the legislation through.

    I would not be at all surprised that there were perhaps a few climate change deniers at the forum.

    Certainly there were a few people at the forum who scoffed at the notion that renewables could supply reliable power – words to the effect “what happens when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow” were heard by me. I was thinking what happens when coal, oil, gas, uranium & thorium become scarce/unaffordable? If renewables are not viable the human race reverts back to an agrarian civilisation – but these people probably didn’t have the imagination to comprehend this – that’s perhaps inconvenient for their narrative.

    Their votes might still be strongly influenced by other matters? ??

    What’s more important than the well-being of your family and their futures? I suspect more than a few people at the forum were only thinking of the short-term and not looking at the longer-term futures of their children and grandchildren (but perhaps I could be wrong).

    Jess Jennings also raised the point that the Bathurst region is likely to no longer experience typical winter conditions by 2050 due to climate change, per recent study.

  8. I meant that some voters might have decided to vote this time, on the basis of climate policy; which has been discussed endlessly for many years, and has been in dispute between at least four large parties: Labor, Liberal, Greens, National through that time……

    Not that there were other, more important policy areas.

  9. Keep the role of advertising in mind.
    Don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the woods but over here we’re being buried beneath an avalanche of Lieberal ads spruiking the end of the world because of the retirees tax which the Bill we can’t afford is poised to implement.
    I leave it to more twisted minds than mine to explain how ceasing to refund to people tax they have never paid is a “TAX!!!”

  10. Yes, ads are important. Here, we’ve had a barrage of Clive.

    BTW, what is a “palmer “?

    A soothsayer?
    Someone who steals a banknote by concealing it in his palm?
    Or none of the above?

    Over here a Smith is a blacksmith, and a Ryder is a rider, a Baker makes bread and so forth.

    But a Palmer? ??

    In addition to advertisements, there was a “Parliamentary ” “inquiry” into The Mums and Dads Franking Credits Confiscation Ripoff Labor Tax Scandal.

    [Is that enough adjectives??]

  11. Labour what’s to ban tax return cheque for retirees.
    The companies that they invested in payed the tax on the profit.

    Next he’ll be after everyone else’s tax return cheque.

    “ Double Tax Bill “ to be the next PM.

    Here’s how it works.

  12. Ok, I’ll break my boycott of educating zoot out of charity this once.
    And why not, im in control and free to do so.

    “How is that a TAX!!!”

    Read to fuck**g link.

    If you own a part of a company’s profit, and payed the TAX!!! then why should you have the legitimate deduction to your overall tax liability be stolen by Bill Shorten.

    I’d like Bills and every other “ law maker “ overall income to tax ratio published.

    Maybe they do, do you care to look for it ?

  13. Out of interest zoot, when was the last time, if ever, you were a nett TAX!!! contributor?
    Or have you been a nett liability demanding more TAXATION!!! your entire life ?

  14. Never mind, I’ve looked into what quintile of income earner one needs to be in the nett TAX!!! contributors club.

    No way you’ll answer honestly.

    I’ll go back to ignoring you now.

  15. If you own a part of a company’s profit, and payed the TAX!!! then why should you have the legitimate deduction to your overall tax liability be stolen by Bill Shorten.

    1. The company paid the tax.
    2. The shareholders with an overall tax liability can claim a portion of it to reduce their liability.
    3. The shareholders who are affected by ALP policy are the ones with no overall tax liability – i.e they’re some of the “nett liabilities” which you detest so vehemently.

    I’ll go back to ignoring you now.

    Please do. I’ll be forever grateful.

  16. Zoot I don’t think the statement “shareholders who are affected by ALP policy are the ones with no overall tax liability” is quite correct. It’s true of retirees, who have no other source of income.

    Someone in paid work, before retirement age and owning shares, will, I think, still benefit from franking credits to the point where they pay no tax. However, they will never be in the position of owing no tax and then get a cheque from the tax office.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. I don’t have time to research it and it’s quite important.

  17. Posted May 2 at the AFR is an article by Bo Seo headlined The moment Tony Abbott got under Zali Steggall’s skin. This bit caught my attention:

    Mr Abbott, whose sparse answer on climate change focused on his commitment to “conservation,” spun the issue into a point about anti-elitism.

    “We sub-contract out too much to experts already. We have a democratic deficit in this country,” he said.

    Ms Steggall took the bait. Her description of the major parties as “slaves of hidden, vested interests” set Mr Abbott on a riff that concluded, “do we want experts to tell us how our cattle herd can be?”

    So, is Abbott suggesting we ignore the advice of experts to guide policy on complex issues and instead rely on vested interests, ill-informed fools and incompetents? Just wondering.

  18. Brian: as I understand it you have described the policy accurately.
    I originally questioned “how ceasing to refund to people tax they have never paid is a tax.” Our erstwhile financial expert, in his rush to drip condescension on me, didn’t address it.
    My reply was sloppy, but intended only to point out his failure to understand both my question and the policy.

  19. Superannuation and companies both provide ways of minimizing tax and avoiding liability when companies go bust.
    The last time I looked the government could save money by removing all superannuation tax benefits and paying everyone over 65 the old age pension.
    In the case of super it may also be worth asking how productively (as distinct from profitably) super funds are used and how much of the funds is used for unproductive share market speculation. It is also worth asking how much damage superannuation funds are doing to companies by putting pressure on companies to pursue short term increases in share value.
    There is a need for radical reform that goes well beyond the franking credit issue. (Are franking credits to anyone erally justified?

  20. Brian
    Also what decisions will investors and Companies make with Bills plan, can we see that modeling.

    Would self funded retirees still invest in Companies that pay after tax dividends.

    Would Companies change their dividend structure.

    Bill seems to think he’ll extract big chunks of loot so it has to be coming from either of these.

    I think investors and companies will run away from the activity quick smart and Bill won’t suck a fraction of the blood he thinks he will.
    Problem is he’ll spend his projected amount and then some regardless.

  21. Oh, none of those were direct questions to you Brian just stuff to ponder, hence no question marks.

  22. New Weekly salon now up.

    John, you can have all sorts of arguments in theory, even about the merits of having no company tax at all, and having individuals not having to submit a tax return, or taxing properties rather than the businesses, or basing tax on turnover.

    Greens can ponder these things and put them forward if the wish.

    Labor’s proposals are quite minor, and merely bring us back from where no other government in the world will go. Starting from scratch you would never introduce full franking credits with refunds to people who pay no tax if you knew that it was going to be exploited by the wealthy, and reach unsustainable proportions ( like $5-6 billion pa going to $8 billion.)

    Labor knew that the beneficiaries were spread over the electorates, that the people affected mostly did not vote for them anyway, and the electoral implications were zero to negligible.


    The people affected are very vocal and ScoMo has used the issue quite dishonestly (it’s not a retiree tax) saying Bill has his hand in your pocket and it’s not going to stop there.

    No-one understands franking credits, and it is difficult to get your head around, especially as there is a lot of variation in individual cases (I heard talk-back on this today).

    As a result Bill doesn’t get to tell anyone what he’s going to use the money for, that it’s all going on services delivered here in Australia, not on overseas trips, and that expenditure will make our lives better as well as employ people who will largely spend their money here rather than overseas.

    Super’s effects in the market are positive rather than negative IMO, it actually helps create the market, and super investment is for the long haul. As such it tends to err on the side of conservatism rather than speculation, for example investing in utilities. Industry super is now increasingly making funds available for entrepreneurial purposes, but has to do so in a way that copes with risk.

    Franking credits in self-managed funds has the effect that investors mostly end up being overweight in Australian shares, which in itself is inherently risky.

  23. I’ve read the ABC Factcheck, which confirms that the whole business is complex. It’s a useful piece.

    Jumpy, I can’t answer all your questions, and also don’t want to spend a lot of time on this topic.

    $10.7 billion over the four-year budget period when expenditure will be north of $2 trillion is not going to cause problems to the budget as such. If the amount is so small, then it is either being phased in, or they realise it will take time to resolve in the senate, or a calculus has already been made that super funds and others will take avoidance actions with their investments.

    However, I understood as a personal beneficiary of franking credit refunds that June 2019 is when the part stops.

    My impression is that we’ll have fewer self-managed funds, it will be mainly people who are quite wealthy and can take their own avoidance strategies or people with less but who want to do something that doesn’t involve shares.

    I suspect that industry super funds will get more custom. It took a couple of days before I heard of alternative schemes were by aggregating funds they could preserve some of the benefits.

    As to company behaviour, I doubt whether this is big in their day. Franking credits will still be available to offset income tax, just not to give a refund.

    On the franking system, I can argue logically that I’m part owner of a company, and tax paid on my shares is the company acting on my behalf, so that if the credit means that I get a cheque, then that is proper, fair and logical. It’s just that very rich people use this to make a lot of money, that is in retirement they pay no tax at all, and it could mean that a company’s profits end up paying no tax.

    One way or another, in practical terms, there are significant funds involved, and it means that well-off retirees are in fact paying no tax. This offends our sense of fairness, or should.

    I think there is a category of retirees who will be deprived of some money where the household assets and income are such that they are not eligible for the pension, but their after-tax disposable income is less than the national median. This is partly because Richard di Natale conspired with the tories to raise the asset threshold for pension eligibility.

    In any case, whatever Labor puts up in detail, it will suffer a long slow grind in the senate, which may in the end be all to the good. So I think we have to wait and see what happens, but the whole proposal has made it less likely that we will have a Labor government.

    Then over the years, people will find themselves having to put their hand in their pockets to pay for services they need for a dignified life, and were once free, because that is where the tory philosophy will take us, to the extent of $40 billion pa by 2030, or so Grattan found.

  24. Trouble is nothing’s free when Government is involved , someone pays for it.
    A ledger has two sides.

    Bill wants to directly target retirees for extra tax revenue.
    But mainly retirees that worked their arse off and made smart decisions to avoid being on welfare.

    Some may just decide to emigrate with their hard earned.
    I’m hearing just a little north is increasingly inviting, and capital flight is bad news for any Country.

  25. Jumpy

    Franking credits and retirees.

    Some retirees have already shifted some of their share investments across to companies that don’t offer franking credits, “just in case”.
    A well respected finance bloke has been advising, “don’t panic”. For instance, the change might not get through the Senate in any case.

    At least shares are easy to adjust, unlike term deposits or a single investment property (house or shop).

    Has it occured to you, Jumpy, that the change proposed might mainly be aimed to remove an inequity, rather than to raise billions?

  26. Anyone truly concerned* about the effect of the ALP’s “Retiree Tax!!!” on our economy need only observe the effect it has had on every other economy in the world where it has been par for the course pretty much forever.

    *(as opposed to those Chicken Littles working for the Liberal Party)

  27. Brian: Super as it stands, is a tax avoidance system that allows people who can afford to put a lot of money into super to reduce their tax bill both at the time they invest in super and when they take money out of super.
    Past governments have offered these tax concessions because they wand to reduce the the number of people needing welfare in their old age.
    Problem is that the money lost due to this tax avoidance is higher than the money that would be spent giving all +65’s the full pension. Just another one of Keating’s mistakes that should be corrected.
    (No, this is not Greens policy.)

  28. Mr A

    Has it occured to you, Jumpy, that the change proposed might mainly be aimed to remove an inequity, rather than to raise billions?

    No, if it were it would apply to all franking credits to everyone and tax return cheques across the board.

    Bill looks to be targeting a demographic that, on average, traditionally vote Lib/Nat.
    That’s a fucking insidiously immoral abuse of democracy and political power.

    Pardon the french.

  29. Mr J:

    Bill looks to be targeting a demographic that, on average, traditionally vote Lib/Nat. That’s a fucking insidiously immoral abuse of democracy and political power.

    Can I assume you are talking about people towards the top of the pile who try to pay as little tax as possible? People who sometimes think it is more important to minimize tax instead of doing things to help those towards the bottom of the pile?

  30. Jumpy

    Do you know why Treasurer Keating introduced franking credits? He said it was to avoid “double taxation”. Company had paid company tax before issuing dividends. Persons receiving dividends shouldn’t pay income tax on those dividends.

    Are you in favour of “double taxation” in that instance?

    Why do you think all “tax refund cheques” should be abolished?

    I didn’t see any Francais (French) in your comment.

  31. Why do you think all “tax refund cheques” should be abolished?

    I don’t, obviously.
    Is zoot your sock puppet?


    In early 1975 a review of the Aussie taxation system, the Asprey Report, appeared.

    Call me naive, but I was shocked to see that persons in the lowest decile of income were paying a high percentage of their income in tax. The percentage then dropped as income rose, finally rising again at moderately high incomes…

    Several reasons, including:
    1. Sales taxes and excises were high on tobacco and alcohol.
    2. A group of (relatively low income) widows of public servants were indirectly paying high tax rates through the company taxes levied on companies their widow pension funds invested in. The report attributed that part of that company tax to the widows who received dividends.

    That latter group, older widows, would be one tiny segment of our fellow citizens, later to benefit from the Keating “franking credit” policy.

    All kinds of surprises in history, Mr J.

  33. Mr A

    Bill looks to be targeting a demographic that, on average, traditionally vote Lib/Nat.

    True or not ?

  34. 1. Sales taxes and excises were high on tobacco and alcohol.

    Compared to now it was minuscule.

  35. 8.20pm

    Too simplistic, Mr J.

    You’ll find pro-Labor superannuants. Remember the famous “doctors’ wives”?
    Your ‘on average’ is too vague and general.
    ‘On average’ Australian voters are female.


    Look at the date Mr J.
    Early 1975.

    So you seem to be claiming that the Wicked Whitlam Govt of 1972-5 was a low-taxing govt. Do you believe that? After all, you say their sales taxes and excise were minuscule.

  36. John D, I have heard economists who say super was a bad idea. Keating’s argument in favour of it goes beyond retirement savings. It creates a large pool of savings – Australians are poor savers – which reduces our need for imported capital.

    But you are right, the super box is a tax haven.

    On franking credits, one point I forgot to mention. Share dividends paid to me are added to my taxable income. The franking credit that accompanies the tax sent to the tax office is added to my taxable income before the franking credit (the same amount) is deducted from tax owing at the end.

    Retirees in the super box don’t pay tax. I’m not sure whether the franking credit is added to the income, I suspect not.

  37. The franking credit that accompanies the tax sent to the tax office is added to my taxable income before the franking credit (the same amount) is deducted from tax owing at the end.

    Brian, surely this would make a zero sum difference to your tax liability.
    As I understand it the franking credit is intended to (partially) offset the income derived from share dividends. So the dividend is added to someone’s total income and the franking credit is effectively a tax deduction.

  38. Jumpy: Last time I looked the clawback (tax) when someone on Newstart earns over a certain amount is is 60%! I remember the weeping and wailing of the better off paying a marginal tax of 60% around about 1975. Took away the incentive to work they said.
    Old man Jumpy your memory of the past is sometimes a bit distorted.

  39. zoot, I think the best way to view franking credits (a jargon term) is to see the company profit on your shares as yours, not the company’s. The ‘company’ is simply an administrative entity that acts on your behalf. So it pays to the tax office your tax owing at company tax rates.

    My accountant then adds that amount paid to the tax office to my net taxable income. As a result I owe tax on that amount at my marginal rate. The tax owing on that extra bit cannot be more than the maximum tax rate, so it’s not zero sum, you get more than half of that back.

    In my case, I have no superannuation (let’s skip why), get some decent money from share dividends, and earn a bit through work in yards and gardens. No tax is paid along the way, ignoring the company tax which I don’t see. Before Howard/Costello introduced the current regime of fully paying out franking credits, I used to get a bill from the tax office of a few grand each year, and ended up having to pay quarterly provisional tax, which was a pain.

    When Howard/Costello did their thing, suddenly I paid no tax and the tax office started sending me cheques, which for some reason have increased each year. Added to my wife’s story it’s of the order that we could probably do a decent overseas trip every year, and we mix with people (eg retired teachers) who do just that. We have some responsibilities that are no-one’s business.

    With Shorten’s plan we expect the franking credits to offset anything we earn part-time, so we’ll owe nothing and get nothing.

    However, what Shorten is proposing, some future government will do, because the present system is unsustainable. And we’ll probably get it back in better access to services. For example, dental expenses have been the bain of my life. Bill is promising to help.

  40. John D, that de facto marginal rate coming off welfare is horrendous. Some women with kids, especially single mums. are flat out breaking even in many circumstances, when you take into account childcare, travel, clothing, extra take-away meals etc.

  41. John

    Old man Jumpy your memory of the past is sometimes a bit distorted.

    Possibly, which bit, the bit about tax on cigarettes and alcohol being minuscule in 75 compared to now ?

  42. At the Labor launch, Mr Shorten called for an end to the smug, smirking unfair complacency of the Govt.

    Even if it was a focus group that gave him “smug, smirking” it was apt, I reckon.

  43. Zoot, no problem, and Ambi I’d agree. I didn’t see the Labor launch, which is unusual for me. I could have gone, but did not want to displace any Labor workers who actually work for the party.

    Does anyone have a link?

  44. Jumpy: I remember the good old days when people could blow smoke on you, smoke in the mess and you could go to a meeting and come out stinking of smoke. Also remember the damage alcohol taking did to people and property in some of the places where I have lived.
    The taxes on nicotine and alcohol taking need to go much higher than they are now to reduce consumption and pay for all the damage.

  45. Zoot: Quiggin might like “policy” because he has the time and some of the skills to check policies – if economics is the real issue. Unfortunately lots of problems such as driving climate action are not simply about using price changes to drive change.
    In assessing a potential government what is more important is their understnding of the problems they will face and what conditions a good solution will have to satisfy.
    Even if they do this most of us may struggle to understand what they need to understand to make good decisions.

  46. In assessing a potential government what is more important is their understanding of the problems they will face and what conditions a good solution will have to satisfy.

    An assessment which is not helped if the media only report on the election process politics as if it is a horse race, football match or prize fight.

  47. That is very much the case. The ABC report on the Labor launch told us that it was Shorten’s chance to cut through with his policies, which they said he talked about. But did they say what those policies were?

    Apparently there was no time for that, colour and movement has priority.

    New post now up – What does Clive Palmer want? – Election 2019 follies 3.

  48. Posted yesterday at the SMH is an article by David Crowe headlined PM shifts attack on Labor to ‘green tape’ he says costs Australian jobs. It begins with:

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison has vowed to stop the spread of union power and stem the growth of environmental rules that he blames for costing Australian jobs, as he sharpens his pitch to voters in the final days of the election campaign.

    Ahead of his final debate against Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in Canberra on Wednesday night, Mr Morrison warned of a threat to the economy from the expansion of union “red tape” and environmental “green tape” that tied down employers when they should have more freedom to expand and hire workers.

    Posted on the same day at the SMH is another article by Peter Hannam headlined ‘On a dark path’: Coalition defends record after extinctions accelerate. It begins with:

    The Morrison government has defended Australia’s efforts to protect threatened species a day after a global study detailed the prospect of a million species becoming extinct because of humans.

    Analysis of habitat loss was conducted by ACF and University of Queensland doctoral student Michelle Ward.

    “Without strict enforcement of the national legislation, Australian extinction rates will remain among the highest in the world,” Ms Ward said. “We are on a very dark path.”

  49. some of our fellow human primates are focussed on human habitat.

    Ecology teaches us of the vast, interlocking “web of life”, with so many cooperative and reciprocal effects….. likely there are thousands more that operate, of which we humabs are still ignorant.

    Only one planet…..

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