House debates

Monday, 18 March 2024


Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2023; Second Reading

2:55 pm

Photo of Steve GeorganasSteve Georganas (Adelaide, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise in support of the Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2023, an important bill that gives us an objective for what superannuation is and should be and what its aims are. Of course, superannuation was brought in by the Labor government, the former Hawke-Keating government, back in the nineties. It was meant to preserve savings for workers—people on wages and in businesses—to allow them to retire in dignity with a bit of income. It is an important Labor reform that was introduced in the mid-nineties, and it's something that this side of the House has supported continuously because we know the importance of ensuring that people who are working have some savings in their retirement to be able to live with dignity. This bill introduces an objective to ensure that it serves as a guide for different governments of all persuasions when they come into this place to make decisions for regulators, industry and the wider community. We know that superannuation is important, and we know that it is one of the mechanisms that we have to ensure that people have an income or some savings when they retire.

Recently I spoke with a constituent in my electorate who had received superannuation payments only twice in the span of 18 months of work. He was relatively young and is already facing financial hardships due to the absence of these contributions towards his retirement savings. This is certainly not within the scope of what superannuation was meant to be. He is currently grappling with the challenge of reclaiming what is rightfully his. Despite his young age, the lack of provided superannuation will significantly affect his future, and he is a sad reminder of why it's important to preserve savings to deliver income for a dignified retirement. This must be done alongside government support in an equitable and sustainable way.

The introduction of the Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2023 by this government marks a significant legislative effort. The primary intent of the bill is to establish a clear and precise objective for superannuation within the legal framework. It is meant to serve as a guiding principle for future governments, regulatory bodies, industry stakeholders and the broader community. Every Australian needs to be able to rely on their super after years and years of hard work, and the significance of this bill extends not only to Australia as a whole but also to the communities in my electorate of Adelaide. They rightfully want assistance in redeeming and understanding their rights within the super landscape. Each time I speak with a constituent, I am reminded of how important the superannuation system is and how important it is to put money aside to ensure that there are some funds there when you retire.

We all know that the superannuation system was subjected to different misappropriations by preceding administrations. We recall clearly what happened in 2015 when the then coalition government chopped some of the increases that were meant to be made to super and that the former Labor government had legislated for. I recall very clearly at the time, even though I wasn't in this place then, the Treasurer, Mr Hockey, saying that it would be better as an increase in wages to workers instead of going into their super. I think it was about 1½ per cent that we were meant to increase it by. I was working for the ASU—the Australian Services Union—at the time, and every time I was negotiating an EDA I would raise those exact words from the then Treasurer. I've got to tell you: not one person, not one employer, increased the wages—


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