Franking credit campaign was not political

Australian Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.

Efforts to oppose franking credit changes would have taken place regardless of the party behind them, claims WAM head Geoff Wilson.

Wilson Asset Management (WAM) chair Geoff Wilson has made it clear the campaign against Labor’s proposals was not politically driven.

“We were very focused on the policy here. It was not politics at all. If the coalition had come up with this policy, we would have lobbied as hard against it as we did,” Wilson told shareholders at a presentation in Sydney.

Describing the political aspect of the campaign, he said: “We were systematically working with all the senators. We met with two Centre Alliance senators in Adelaide on this and with others who were going to sit down and block it and make sure it was blocked.”

Prior to the election, WAM conducted a survey to determine what changes investors would make if the ban was introduced and more than 4000 individuals provided responses, as well as their voting intentions.

“Our goal was to get franking on the agenda. We are very happy that people did understand it because it was a complex issue and they voted accordingly,” Wilson said.

“We did a survey and people signed the petition,” he said, adding he believed Labor underestimated the intergenerational impact of the policy.

Last week, Wilson said the 4000-person survey indicated 77 per cent of Labor supporters were planning on changing their vote and 47 per cent of all respondents stated their children or grandchildren would do the same in response to the proposed changes.

In February, Wilson rejected claims he had formal ties with Liberal MP Tim Wilson, who chaired a House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics inquiry into Labor’s proposal to ban franking credit refunds.

WAM’s Wilson said the two were distantly related and Tim was a shareholder in one of the manager’s listed investment companies, but they had no other connection apart from their mutual opposition to the Labor proposal.

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