House debates

Wednesday, 2 June 2021


Treasury Laws Amendment (Your Future, Your Super) Bill 2021; Second Reading

6:08 pm

Photo of Bob KatterBob Katter (Kennedy, Katter's Australian Party) Share this | Hansard source

If you listen to me, you might just know a little tiny bit about it. I made my living, for six years before I went into parliament, selling superannuation. I did very well out of it, thank you. I'm very proud of the contracts that I sold. Up until the 1990s—the start of the free market economics that dominate this parliament to this very day—there was a 60-40 rule: 60 per cent of all superannuation went into government securities. So it should. I mean, you put it away for your retirement. You've saved all of your life to get a benefit, and if it's not there when you retire, there's going to be a lot of heartbreak: you work all your life to retire, but you can't retire. That was the idea of the 60 per cent going into government securities: so that you knew you had security for your retirement. Unless the government was going to go bankrupt, you had security in your retirement.

I had agencies with a very, very prudential corporation, and they were all stodgy investors—very, very stodgy. I was marketing AMP investment plans. They were tailor-made investment plans, but the contract was with the AMP. With an ALA contract with the AMP society you put in $2½ thousand a year and, with bonuses, after 50 years, when you hit retirement age, you would get $1 million.

Now, I put—we all put—$23,000 a year into our compulsory superannuation. I get back $1 million, if I want a lump sum. So I put in $23,000 and get $1 million. On the ALA, I put in $2½ thousand and got back a million dollars. The last speaker talked about how wonderfully these funds perform. If you go back to the AMP—my wife has a contract with the AMP, and her retirement fund is less now than it was three years ago. I'm not privy to it, but I presume she's putting $1,000 in a year or something, or whatever it is, but it's going down, not up. Let's say I was putting in $4,000 a year for 50 years. That's $200,000, but I was going to get a million dollars out of that. Well, she's putting the same amount of money in, and it's going down, not up.

Why is it going down? Well, because the CEO class runs the world. Everyone in this place should have read Piketty's book on how the world is not divided up between haves and have nots, as some of the people on my right here on the Labor Party believe. Sorry, you're wrong. The world is divided up into the CEO class—of which a lot of you are members, and a lot on the other side of the chamber are as well, of course. The CEO class runs and owns the world. If they choose to pay themselves $20 million a year, then they pay themselves $20 million a year. They are really answerable to nobody except themselves. Most of the CEOs are paying themselves over $12 million a year, and I'm talking about hundreds of companies in Australia where they are paying themselves that sort of money.

Do they know anything about the stock market? Well, I came through in the age of the mineral boom. My girlfriend, now my wife, bought shares in Toledo copper. She said, 'Would you like to have a look at the prospectus and tell me whether it's a good investment?' Well, they got $6 million off the stock market, and I read through their prospectus. At that stage I was very knowledgeable in that field. I had worked on my own mines and was about to leave university and start working my own mines, so I knew what I was doing. I burst out laughing. She said: 'How much copper have they got? What's the value?' I said, 'I've got more copper in my pocket than they have got in their reserves—it's third rate, $6 million!' At that point in time, I knew that I loved the stock market. It is the greatest invention in human history for smart country boys to take money off dumb rich boys. It is beautiful. I loved it. I was quickly floating my own mining company for $6 million, which is $20 million in terms of today's money, and all these dumb beggars were going to invest. In actual fact, I did have reserves, but they're investing in the stock market. Who's investing?

I read an article by a very famous commentator, Santamaria, one of the most powerful and influential figures in Australian history. He had a column in The Australian newspaper. He said: 'There are people investing in superannuation funds who are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and who are in their 30s. They are investing hundreds of millions of dollars.' I thought: 'This old bloke's lost his marbles. I'm not reading his column anymore.' So I stopped reading it. And then, two years later, Nick Leeson destroyed one of the biggest banks in the world. Santamaria was wrong, because he wasn't in his 30s; he was in his 20s. Santamaria was wrong, because he said they were on hundreds of thousands; he was on millions of dollars a year. Santamaria was wrong, because he said he was investing hundreds of millions of dollars. No, he wasn't; he was investing billions of dollars. So Santamaria was wrong on every single issue! I couldn't believe it. Seriously, this bloke, in his 20s, was investing billions of dollars and paying himself virtually what he liked—millions of dollars a year. Barings Bank had been there for 400 years, and he blew it to pieces. That is what is going on on a continuous basis.

All of your retirement funds are going into superannuation companies that are investing it in the stock market. If you could tell me some young 'smart-A' out of university with a double degree and honours or something like that is investing on the stock market, what the hell would he know about a mining company or its reserves? He couldn't read a prospectus. But that's not really the major part of their investment. Fifty-one per cent of their investment is into the stock market. For those who like studying these things, what you're talking about here is a roulette wheel. These young masters of economics out of business schools in universities wouldn't have a clue what they're investing in. But that's what they're doing: they're investing in the stock market, which is a roulette wheel—well, maybe a Ponzi scheme, because, if they keep investing in it, each year the value of the shares go up because more and more people are buying them each year. So it's a giant Ponzi scheme. But I don't think anyone in this place is so ignorant as not to know what happens in a Ponzi scheme—eventually, it blows up. Fifty-one per cent is going to the Ponzi scheme. Thirty per cent is going into property.

Property may not be a roulette wheel, but it most certainly is a Ponzi scheme. In fact, if we stop the about 400,000 people coming into Australia a year—and now they have stopped—according to what I can see, the property market falls through the floor. What happens then? All your superannuation is invested in the property market. The stock market has collapsed on numerous occasions in Australian history—in the eighties and the nineties—and it will again. So too bad for you if you retire when the stock market has crashed through the floor.

Turn the clock back to when wise men ran this country. Wise and thoughtful people ran this country. They said, '60 per cent went into government securities.' In Queensland, that money was used to build the railway lines into the coalfields. Australia's economy has been carried on the coal truck now for 70 years, and it's still being carried by the coal truck. There's also an iron ore truck as well now. But half of Australia's income is from iron ore and half is from coal. There are also other things, so let me be very specific. Coal's about $70 billion a year. The next one down might be gold, about $12 billion a year; might be cattle, about $12 billion a year; might be aluminium, although that's doomed because of the price of electricity, but it's about $12 billion to $15 billion a year. So you've just got these two giants, and that giant is there because of the 60-40 rule. We could get the investment money to build the railway line for George Ishimura, for Utah and for Les Thiess. Once that railway line was built, we were able to export coal. Australia was a coal-importing nation until that investment money became available and created the coal industry.

Half of Australia's agriculture comes from dams, and if I look at agriculture as a whole I'm talking about $60 billion or $70 billion there. Where does most of that come from? Dams. Where'd the money come from to build the dams? It came from superannuation. Now there's no money for dams because there's no superannuation money. It's all spinning around on the roulette wheel. It's all in the Ponzi schemes. It's not being used by intelligent, thoughtful people to be invested wisely in something that is a benefit to the planet as well as to Australia. We have an aluminium industry because that money was used to build the biggest power station in the world and because we had a government that believed Australia should own the assets.

In Queensland, we took one per cent of the coal for free. We had a reserve resource policy, and God bless the West Australians because they still have a reserve resource policy. We gave away the gas, which is worth about $50 billion or $60 billion a year. We sell it for 6c and we Australians buy our own gas back for $16. That's smart, that was a good deal! Qatar exports the same amount of gas as Australia. Qatar gets $39 billion out of it. Australia gets $4 billion a year out of it. I mean, who's smart, Qatar or Australia?

Honourable members interjecting

Well, whatever the correct pronunciation is. I'm just an ignorant Cloncurry boy. I wouldn't know about how you pronounce all these big words. This place has decided that people out there can invest that money any way they like. They've got a bunch of nobodies out of university who wouldn't know whether their backside was on fire on a dark night and wouldn't be able to change a bicycle tyre, and yet they are going to decide that this mining investment is a good investment, or that Christopher Skase company is a great investment. They decided that Christopher Skase was a good investment. He flew them in his big Boeing 747 for dinner up on his big yacht at Mooloolaba, and they thought, 'Oh, well, are we going to question him about security for his companies?' Of course they were not. They were impressed by all of this.

I hate to tell you, but your money's going on a roulette wheel and into a Ponzi scheme. I've given the warning. If people don't take it, at least the historical record will read I tried to tell them. The 60-40 rule put there by 'Red Ted' Theodore, put there by Jack McEwen— (Time expired)


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