Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Since the parliament last met, the Treasurer gave a speech about ageing which barely mentioned superannuation. That's like giving a speech about leg spin bowling and not mentioning Warnie. It's like giving a speech about health care in Australia and not mentioning Medicare. And it shows that, after almost 30 years of compulsory superannuation—30 years since it was introduced by Labor and embraced by the Australian public—the Liberals and Nationals still can't accept that super, and compulsory super in particular, are key pillars of the Australian economy. You can't understand ageing if you can't understand and embrace superannuation. It's that simple. But those opposite—
Government members interjecting—
including those in the peanut gallery who are chirping away right now—don't understand. They are so blinded by ideology and by envy. They are so blinded by it, they are so short-sighted, they are so bereft of vision that they can't understand the public policy triumph that is compulsory superannuation in this country.
At the end of September, Australia's super assets totalled almost $3 trillion, representing one of the largest retirement funding pools in the entire world. It's estimated that super will be worth almost $10 trillion by 2035, and that means that Australian workers will have hundreds of thousands of dollars in private savings that they would never have had were it up to those opposite and were it not for the genius, the vision and the foresight of Paul Keating and Labor working with unions—and with employers—to make it happen. This is a proud achievement of the whole nation. It's a proud creation of Labor—the labour movement and a Labor government—but it's also an achievement of the entire Australian nation, and it should be embraced.
Those opposite mouth the platitudes of super while they work feverishly to diminish and destroy it. And it's been that way since the very beginning. They resisted its introduction. They voted against it, and ever since then they've said, 'Oh, yes, we support superannuation,' but all the while they're been working to diminish and destroy it because they don't believe in it. It's the old playbook. We know this because they resisted it at the beginning, they've frozen it multiple times and they've done nothing to attack the scourge that is unpaid superannuation.
We know how it works on that side of the House. It always starts up the back in the cheap seats with one of the more extreme members of the back bench—it always begins with someone in the back bench—and the Treasurer always pretends that: 'Look, don't worry. In the Liberal Party, they're allowed to sound off from time to time.' The problem with this Liberal and National government is that the tail wags the Treasurer. We saw it with energy policy when the member for Hughes, I think, rolled the Treasurer, and we're about to see it on superannuation as well. It starts up the back and it ends up being the Treasurer's view because the Treasurer will always prioritise his own internal political prospects over the prospects of Australian workers. He does it time and time again.
We've had members say that super should be optional. We've had members say that employees should be able to nominate in or out. We've had a senator say that superannuation is a cancer. An LNP senator in the other place has said that superannuation is a cancer.
Senator Rennick said it was a cancer. There you go. Genius!
We're onto them. We know that the retirement income review is a stalking horse for more cuts to super. We know that it's a stalking horse for more cuts. There has been a cut to the pension in every budget of every year rom those opposite in government. The front of this Treasurer to talk about ageing without mentioning how this government has treated older Australians, the cuts from aged care, the cuts from the pension system, the attacks on superannuation—
The member for Rankin is reflecting on people in this House. When he talks about 'cheap seats' up the back here, he discredits members in this place. We are all equal. We're in an egalitarian society. This guy might appreciate being on the shadow front bench, but everyone is important in this place. I ask him to withdraw.