House debates

Monday, 24 June 2013

Questions without Notice


2:59 pm

Photo of Laura SmythLaura Smyth (La Trobe, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, and Financial Services and Superannuation. Minister, how is the government delivering on its plan to build a stronger economy through better jobs and more secure retirement incomes? Are there any obstacles to increasing the retirement savings of Australians?

3:00 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to thank the member for La Trobe for her question. She understands, as everyone in the government does, that superannuation is a very important institution. Indeed, as Australians grow older, increasing retirement income and superannuation become even more important. That is why there is a clear and distinct debate in Australian politics at the moment between Labor on one hand and the coalition on the other.

Labor has always supported increasing compulsory superannuation over the years—zero to three per cent in the Hawke government, three to nine per cent in the Keating government, and nine to 12 per cent in the Gillard government. On every occasion when the opposition has had a chance to vote to increase superannuation, they have voted against it. They have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity on superannuation, I am afraid.

But it gets worse than that when we talk about the choice between the two parties. We have axed a 15 per cent tax on the contributions paid by people who earn less than $37,000, and the coalition wants to put a brand new tax on the contributions of low-paid Australian workers. But when you look at the consequences of this coalition policy that is when the story becomes most clear.

Take for instance, 30-year-olds in select occupations and what they get if Labor is returned on 14 September, or what they get if the coalition is elected. This is very important to the retirement savings of people. A receptionist on average wages stands to gain an extra $79,000 if Labor's policies are upheld in this nation. A hairdresser stands to gain an extra $66,000 at retirement if Labor's policies are upheld in this nation. Childcare workers would gain an extra $75,000 in retirement. Even the occupation of media professionals—more affectionately known as journalists—stand to gain an extra $156,000 in retirement if Labor is elected. This is the choice in superannuation in Australia, first of all.

The conservatives have never liked superannuation and, as recently as last year, the Leader of the Opposition said:

We have always as a Coalition been against compulsory superannuation increases.

Mr Pyne interjecting

That was on 23 March 2012—just to help the leader of opposition business. What we know about the coalition is that the track record counts. A leopard cannot change its spots; the opposition cannot be trusted to increase superannuation. If you want to see Australians retire with more income, the only choice on 14 September is to re-elect a Labor government.