The Morrison government has declared victory at the 2019 federal election after another demonstration of the growing inaccuracy of predicting voting outcomes.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten conceded the vote at just after 11pm last night after Labor won 66 seats to the Liberal party's 74. The Labor party underpeformed in every state, with heavy losses in Queensland. After conceding a loss for the ALP, Mr Shorten stepped down from his position as opposition leader.
This is the third consecutive term in power for the coalition, which has governed Australia since Tony Abbott’s leadership in the 2013 election.
Since then the party has gone through two prime ministers in the form of Mr Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, with current leader Scott Morrison being sworn in late last year after a leadership spill.
The polls leading up to the weekend had declared a slim victory for the Labor party with Newspoll, Roy Morgan and Fairfax Ipsos all reporting a 52-48 victory for the opposition. While the result is being characterised as a shock outcome by political commentators, recent history shows that polling is becoming an increasingly problematic way of predicting elections results. Trump's victory in the United States and the Brexit referendum in 2016 also brought the forecasting process into question.
What does a Morrison government mean for investors?
The financial management of the nation was a a key theme of the 2019 election, in which Labor had campaigned hard on tax reform and changes to franking credits and negative gearing that would impact retirees.
Earlier in the year, the coalition was able to deliver what it called a "back in black" surplus and Morrison had few, if any, complicated and potentially worrisome reforms to explain to Australians prior to the vote. By contrast, the opposition had more of a case to argue when it came to how they would manage the economy, which may have left the majority of Australians with more confidence in a Morrison government. Australia has voted for no change.
Housing was a major issue in this year's debate, with the coalition announcing a last-minute policy initiative a week out from the election. Meanwhile, the opposition held fast to its policies around negative gearing.
The coalition has promised to lower the 32.5 per cent income tax rate to 30 per cent in 2024-25, increasing the reward for effort by ensuring a projected 94 per cent of taxpayers will face a marginal tax rate of no more than 30 per cent.
The Morrison government will also allow voluntary superannuation contributions (both concessional and non-concessional) to be made by those aged 65 and 66 without meeting the work test from 1 July 2020. People aged 65 and 66 will also be able to make up to three years of non-concessional contributions under the bring-forward rule.
Those up to and including age 74 will be able to receive spouse contributions, with those 65 and 66 no longer needing to meet a work test.
Currently, people aged 65 to 74 can only make voluntary superannuation contributions if they self-report as working a minimum of 40 hours over a 30 day period in the relevant financial year. Those aged 65 and over cannot access bring-forward arrangements and those aged 70 and over cannot receive spouse contributions.
The government will also be encouraged to make good on its budget promise to make permanent the current tax relief for merging superannuation funds that is due to expire on 1 July 2020. Since December 2008, tax relief has been available for superannuation funds to transfer revenue and capital losses to a new merged fund, and to defer taxation consequences on gains and losses from revenue and capital assets.
The tax relief will be made permanent from 1 July 2020, ensuring superannuation fund member balances are not affected by tax when funds merge. It will remove tax as an impediment to mergers and facilitate industry consolidation, consistent with the recommendation of the Productivity Commission’s final report into the superannuation industry.
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