Malcolm Turnbull’s investments will benefit from his planned company tax cuts – but so will about 15 million Australians with superannuation accounts.
The prime minister lectured Labor about its “politics of envy” push after the opposition launched attack ads targeting his wealth.
The ads state the prime minister has “millions invested in funds, which hold shares in dozens of big businesses which would benefit from the tax cut”.
But Mr Turnbull pointed out that many Australians, including Labor MPs, have similar investments.
“Virtually every member of this house who has interests in Australian superannuation funds … has investments in all of the big multinationals, all of the big companies and banks and so forth,” he told parliament on Monday.
He said past Labor leaders had united Australians and urged people to be optimistic and ambitious.
“But I have to say that the politics of envy is one that has failed in the past.”
Labor also released an analysis of Mr Turnbull’s financial interests register showing he indirectly owns shares in 32 companies worth over $50 million.
“Who exactly is he looking after?” the ads ask.
Labor’s finance spokesman Jim Chalmers defended the attack ads, despite saying Mr Turnbull was entitled to make the point about superannuation funds.
“We’re also entitled to point out that Malcolm Turnbull’s background, we think, is a key factor in him never putting the interests of middle Australia before the interests of the top end of town,” he told reporters.
Mr Turnbull is hoping to cut the company tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent for companies with turnovers above $50 million a year, but the bill is struggling to get through the Senate.
The prime minister said Australians didn’t like being told people shouldn’t aspire to success.
“They want to attack me having a quid,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“They want to attack me and Lucy for working hard, investing, having a go, making money, paying plenty of tax, giving back to the community.”
Mr Turnbull said his investment funds were managed by an external adviser, and were almost entirely held in offshore managed funds, to avoid a conflict of interest in them being held in Australian shares.