Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2014; Consideration of Senate Message
This is a day which is not surprising. This is a day that will not come as a surprise to those Australians who know that there is one side of politics in Australia who support superannuation and there is another side of the parliament who do not. There is one side of politics that built Australia's superannuation system and will defend it and there is another side that seek to reduce and diminish superannuation at every single opportunity.
I say to the House—and I say it deliberately and I say it carefully—that this is a day of shame for the government. This is a day of shame because the government is attacking Australia's retirement incomes for those who can least afford it. This is a day of shame because this is the day the government says to Australia's low-income workers that they will get no help from this government in relation to saving for their future. This is a day of shame because this is the day the government attacks the very fundamental nature of our retirement income system—built on the pillars of the age pension, personal and private savings and universal superannuation.
This is a day of shame for the government because it is the day the government rips out, according to the Financial Services Council, $128 billion from Australia's pool of savings—or, according to Industry Super Network, $150 billion. Either of those figures are very substantial and either of those figures mean that this government is saying to Australians and to the Australian economy, 'We want less money in our pool of savings; we want fewer people saving for their retirement through superannuation; and we want to make it harder for, in particular, low-income workers, female workers and workers in rural and regional Australia.' That is why this is a day of shame for this government.
We are realists about how this vote will go, but we will vote according to our values. Our values will tell us that low-income earners deserve some support to save for the future through superannuation. Our values will tell us that all Australians deserve a dignified retirement regardless of their income and that Australians on a low or middle income deserve to have a dignified retirement no less than any other—and 12 per cent is vital to make it happen. We are going to see 12 per cent superannuation off to the never-never.
I say to the House that we should have had 12 per cent superannuation years ago. If the Howard government had kept its commitment to the Australian people, we would have had 12 per cent superannuation years ago. It took the Rudd and Gillard governments to say that we will have 12 per cent superannuation by 2019—and even that is too soon for this government, who hate superannuation so much that they are going back on a firm commitment to the Australian people to have a schedule to get to 12 per cent which would be delayed just two years. But now that they have come to office, they are delaying it by six. And I make this prediction: they will be back, because they will find even that six-year delay is not enough because they hate superannuation so much.
There are important questions before the House, and I want to take the opportunity to ask the parliamentary secretary, who has carriage of this bill, the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2014, to outline to the House the long-term impact on the budget of this change to superannuation—most particularly the age pension. How many people will be on the age pension because of these changes? What is the long-term impact on the budget? What is the long-term impact, according to Treasury projections, on the national pool of savings of the legislation that is now before the House? I would ask the parliamentary secretary to answer those questions.