Thursday, 3 June 2010
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Human Services and Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law. What will be the impact on the retirement incomes of working Australians if the government’s stronger and fairer superannuation reforms do not proceed? How would this particularly affect the communities of outer eastern Melbourne?
I thank the member for Deakin for his question. I also note that there are 46,000 working Australians in his electorate who stand to benefit from our reforms to superannuation. Perhaps it is unsurprising that there are so many people in the electorate of the member for Deakin who will have their retirement incomes boosted by our reforms, because there are 8.4 million Australians across the country who will benefit from our reforms, and there are 3.5 million low-income Australians who will benefit from having their contributions tax given back to them under this government, each of whom stands to lose those benefits if the Leader of the Opposition gets his way.
At the moment, the average lump sum of somebody aged between 60 and 65 is $245,000 for men and $170,000 for women. By 2035, as a result of more people being under compulsory superannuation for longer as a result of our reforms, that will increase to $485,000 for men and $345,000 for women. Of course women stand to get a greater proportion of the benefit because females have lower incomes and our reforms are very much targeted at those who need to put more money aside for their retirement: people on lower incomes. The simple fact is that nine per cent of salary and wages is not enough for a comfortable and dignified retirement in Australia. It is a very good start—a start for which we can thank previous Labor governments. It was something that the opposition opposed all the way and something that they continued to oppose all through the years of the Howard government. They opposed giving Australians a more comfortable and dignified retirement.
The member for Deakin asked me about the impact on outer eastern Melbourne. As I said, the member for Deakin can report to 46,000 of his constituents that they will be better off because of this government’s reforms. But the member for La Trobe, who rejoins us in the chamber, will have a much harder task, because he will have to report to 52,000 of his constituents that they will miss out on a greater retirement income because of his opposition to our superannuation reforms. He will need to report to 17,000 of his constituents aged over 50, who potentially could benefit from our improved catch-up payments for superannuation, that he stands against them getting a more comfortable and dignified retirement.
These are people who do not have a private jet with which to fly to Canberra to make their case at the National Press Club. They rely on us to make it for them. At least a little more than half of the people in this chamber are standing up for people to get a better retirement income. A little fewer than half are more interested in defending mining companies than interested in boosting the retirement incomes of Australians. They are lions on behalf of Clive Palmer; they are mice on behalf of working families. They have not a word in response—not a word in defence of the retirement incomes of Australians. So we look forward to the member for La Trobe’s next newsletter. He will be explaining to 52,000 of his constituents why he opposes them getting a better retirement income. He could make it a bumper edition. He could explain why he opposes the trade training school at Boronia Heights. He could explain why he opposes the GP superclinic at Berwick. It could be a bumper edition. He would have to rely on all his eloquence to do it, but I am sure he could do it.
It is time the Leader of the Opposition gave working families a break. It is time he gave them a tax break for saving through their superannuation. If you asked the shadow minister for superannuation what he thinks about superannuation all he will tell you is what mining companies think. But this is about much more than the shadow minister for superannuation not being up to the job. It is about the Leader of the Opposition thinking superannuation is a con job. He told this House it was a con job. It is about an opposition more interested in boosting their donations from mining companies than boosting the retirement incomes of Australians. That is what this is about. It is time the Leader of the Opposition—
Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order on relevance. I think we have strayed well away from outer eastern Melbourne and to areas which do not even relate to the minister’s portfolio—
I thank the member for Boothby for pointing out that all Australians stand to lose from the opposition opposing our proposals.
Most importantly, this is about working families and working Australians looking forlornly at the Leader of the Opposition, who simply does not care about giving them a more dignified retirement.