Tuesday, 25 August 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to Australia's ageing population. Why is the government not only neglecting older Australians of today in aged care but also neglecting older Australians of tomorrow, through the reduction of more than 600,000 superannuation accounts to zero, and pensioners of today and tomorrow by freezing the pension for the first time in 23 years?
Those opposite never seem to understand that people's superannuation investments belong to them, not to industry fund managers. They bristle and they resist every single time there may be any suggestion that those own savings—their own savings—they may wish to use themselves, including during a pandemic—
Honourable members interjecting—
The Prime Minister will just pause for a second. I shouldn't have to remind members every 15 minutes of what I've said about interjections. I'm not upset about it; I will just remove members. We are in different circumstances, and if they can't understand the import of that and why I'm taking this action they'll have to figure it out back in their offices. That applies to both sides. The Prime Minister has the call.
One of the many measures that our government put in place to support people through this pandemic was to ensure they could get access to their own savings, their own money, in their own superannuation accounts, to ensure that they could make their way through with their own resources, on top of the other resources that were being made available to the largest income supports that a government has ever put in place in this country. But those opposite think it's their money. They think it's union fund managers' money, to determine how it's done, how many fees they have to pay.
Just today, in the Senate, the 'Your Super, Your Choice' legislation was passed. It's important legislation which understands that people's superannuation money is their money—not the Labor Party's, not the industry fund manager's, not any fund manager's. We believe it belongs to them because they worked for it, they earned it, they saved it. And when they need it in a time of pandemic we're going to make sure they can get access to it.
Those opposite reject that. They resist it. They turn up here like puppets on a string on behalf of the union fund managers and they trot out the lines on their behalf. But we have a message for them: it's not your money. We won't let you take it from those who've earned it when they need it.
Ms Plibersek interjecting—
We'll make it available to them, as we have made it available to them. Do you know what they're doing with it? They're ensuring that they can pay down their mortgages and they can protect their homes, that they can pay independent school fees, that they can look after and pay down their debt, that they can pay their rent, that they can look after their kids. Those opposite want to keep the hard-earned savings of Australians away from them when they need it most and have them tucked up in the industry fund by union fund managers as they count their directors fees.