Shorten backflips on controversial policy
PENSIONERS will now be exempt from Labor's controversial proposal to end cash rebates for excess imputation credits.
The Opposition Leader has now offered a Pensioner Guarantee to protect 300,000 pensioners and welfare recipients from his plan to axe tax-credit refunds for retirees, despite originally including them in the sweeping crackdown to save $11.4 billion.
The revised plan will ensure pensioners with individual shareholdings receiving the age pension, disability support pension, carer payment, parenting payment, Newstart and sickness allowance will not be hit.
The policy had drawn strong criticism from the federal government, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull accusing the Opposition Leader of "coming after" pensioners' money.
Labor has now guaranteed pensioners will still be able to access cash refunds from excess dividend imputation credits.
Self-managed superannuation funds with at least one pensioner or allowance recipient before Wednesday will also be exempt from the changes.
"Labor has always protected pensioners - and we always will," said Mr Shorten and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen in a statement.
"Labor's reforms to excess dividend imputation credits will crack down on an unsustainable tax loophole that gives tax refunds to people who don't pay income tax, while protecting pensioners and paying for better schools and hospitals.
"Today, Labor is introducing a new Pensioner Guarantee - protecting pensioners from changes to excess dividend imputation credits. The Pensioner Guarantee will protect pensioners who may otherwise be affected by this important reform."
65 per cent of voters currently receiving the cash rebates oppose Labor's policy.
It comes as the federal government faces its own woes, with a vote to give big corporations tax cuts being delayed due to a lack of Senate support.
Despite having "very respectful" negotiations with independent senators Derryn Hinch and Tim Storer, a vote on the tax cuts bill has been pushed off until at least next Tuesday.
The government wants its legislation to cut the corporate tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent to be passed this week, the final parliamentary sitting before the May budget.
Over the weekend, the Coalition lost its 29th consecutive Newspoll, trailing Labor 47-53 on a two-party preferred basis.
It brings Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull closer to the symbolically significant 30th poll which he cited as one of his reasons for toppling Tony Abbott in 2015.
The latest Newspoll also shows Labor has boosted its primary vote to 39 per cent against the Coalition's unchanged 37 per cent.