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Hewison Insights
Australian Government

Petty politicians are overshadowing the real issues

John Hewison
Founder and Director
14 Sep 2015

It’s disappointing that political squabbling has so far overshadowed the pressing issues that need to be addressed as part of the debate on tax and financial services reform.

Conversations thus far have largely ignored both the prospect of increasing the GST – the elephant in the room of tax reform – and the possible abolition of negative gearing and the dividend imputation system.

Unfortunately, instead of providing much needed political leadership on these proposals, the government has avoided the issue, regurgitating the all too familiar and ambiguous lines about them not being on the agenda or, in the case of imputation, how important they are to retirement income. Yet both continue to be debated in a public forum, so how can we be confident in their conviction?

By way of background, Hawke and Keating “quarantined” negative gearing in 1985 only to be forced to re-introduce it in 1987 after the bottom fell out of the property investment market, causing a severe shortage in rental accommodation.

On the other hand, the imputation system is a measure of fairness and stops double taxation on income. It is not some income “perk” for investors that can easily be removed with any feasible justification.

It is widely acknowledged that the taxation system needs to be simplified for the common good of the nation, however it’s time to have a rational debate in the interest of the public rather than perpetuating the current rock throwing between vested political interests. 

Further to this, the financial services reform continues to be plagued by myopic, self-interested proponents of the current system, hindering any chance of fair and reasonable change.

As independent, professional financial advisers, we at Hewison Private Wealth are appalled and frustrated by the situation. It is difficult to fathom the audacity of those who fiercely lobby their own vested interests, and the ignorance of the government for allowing this circus to continue.

The Australian public deserves unbiased and professionally-sound financial advice from suitably qualified advisers but this scenario does not exist under the current regime. It’s time for the government to introduce the required legislation to protect the public and regulate the industry.

My concern however is that we are going to finish up with the camel’s nose.

I make a heartfelt appeal to government to look past the political posturing and address the issues with clarity and in the interest of those who elect them in mind.  



Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.