The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Bill Shorten

Bill Shorten

Minister for Financial Services & Superannuation

14 September 2010 - 1 July 2013

Media Release of 07/04/2011


Double backflip by Shadow Treasurer

Joe Hockey has been pulled into line by Liberal and National colleagues after backflipping about taxing trusts twice in a 24 hour period, Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten said today.

“The red warning lights and emergency sirens have been going off in Liberal Party Headquarters since Mr Hockey sat down after his speech yesterday. The degree of apoplexy that Warren Truss and the National Party would have gone into after seeing Mr Hockey’s statements is more difficult to diagnose.  Febrile is my guess.”

It should not be lost on the 660,000 Australians who use trusts that the Shadow Treasurers comments were in his prepared and published speech to the Chartered Accountants conference yesterday.   After first claiming the Coalition would tax trusts, he’s now claimed that is not the case. Well, let’s go back to his published speech:

“Standardisation would also involve taxing trusts in their own right and at the same rate as companies.... That is likely to be contentious but is worthy of serious consideration.

(Joe Hockey; ADDRESS TO THE ICAA NATIONAL TAX CONFERENCE. page 8,  06/04/11)  

“Pretty self explanatory. His comments were not off the cuff, not accidental and not confused.  Whether he has cleared his speech with Tony Abbott is another matter,” Mr Shorten said.

This was a written speech he widely distributed and was said live in front of 300 accountants – it’s not us condemning him on his folly, it’s Joe Hockey himself.

“The shadow treasurer really needs to make up his mind. Will the Coalition tax trusts, or won’t they? Is he the Shadow Treasurer, or are his National party colleagues running the show?”

The Gillard Government sees trusts as legitimate tax arrangements, they are not a form of tax avoidance.

There are 600,000 business and farmers who use trusts have said they do not want trusts taxed like industry at the company rate.

Mr Hockey’s proposal could see thousands and thousands of family businesses pay far more tax than they are at present.

It would do this because his proposal would shut down the ability for income from the trust streamed to a beneficiary being taxed at a lower rate than the corporate rate of 30 percent.

7 April 2011