The Parliamentary website of the franking credits inquiry says it is the official page of the inquiry and that pre-registration for public hearings is not required. This is despite the fact that the criticised Stop The Retirement Tax website has been registering attendees.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics has been conducting an inquiry on the implications of removing refundable franking credits. Effectively it has been operating as forum for anger with Labor’s policy to stop most refunds of excess franking credits.
Liberal MP Tim Wilson, who is also Chair of the Committee, has been encouraging people wishing to attend the public hearings to register on the website stoptheretirementtax.com. ‘Retirement tax’ is the Goverment’s preferred term for Labor’s franking credit policy.
But the Parliamentary website for the inquiry has been updated to say:
Public Meeting Process:
This is the official page of the committee. In relation to public meetings, pre-registration is not required to participate.
Members of the public can attend on the day and place their name on a list at the meeting venue to make a public statement.
MP Tim Wilson said he was encouraging pre-registration because “many hearings have been standing room only”.
In order to register to attend public hearings of the inquiry using the Stop the Retirement Tax website requires giving a name, email address, phone number and address. It is unclear from the website to what use this data will be put.
The website also has check-boxes for “I want to be registered for the petition against the retirement tax” and “I want to be contacted on future activities to stop the retirement tax”.
For a time the website would not accept a registration to attend a public hearing without ticking the box ‘I want to be registered for the petition against the retirement tax’. Mr Wilson says this was an “error that’s fixed”.
Stoptheretirementtax.com says: “Labor are attacking your full tax refund. After the election they want to scrap refundable franking credits. That will hit your security in retirement and risk pushing many vulnerable retirees below the poverty line.”
Under Labor’s policy age pensioners and some SMSFs would still receive refunds of franking credits.
The website also allows for pro-forma submissions to be lodged with the inquiry. Mr Wilson has said that “over 1000 submissions have been made by those who’ll be hit by Labor’s retirement tax”. Currently 998 are published on the Parliamentary website.
The Stop the Retirement Tax website says it is authorised by “Tim Wilson MP Chair of the Standing Committee on Economics”.
Asked on Twitter about the use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms on the website, Mr Wilson said he was allowed to use it as a Federal MP.
“Just not in conjunction with the party logo. Which is fair enough,” he said.
Labor is reportedly considering lodging a complaint against Mr Wilson in relation to the inquiry with the Speaker of the House of Representatives.U
The office of Tim Wilson MP has been contacted for comment.