Tuesday, 1 September 2020
Questions without Notice
Aged Care, Superannuation
My question is to the Prime Minister. Why is the Prime Minister not only neglecting older Australians of today in aged care but neglecting older Australians of tomorrow by failing to deliver on the increase to their retirement savings in superannuation that he announced on 7 November 2018?
Let me say first of all, because I know the Leader of the Opposition has raised this in other places—I know he's raising a separate issue here, but this is just to put pensioners' minds at ease when it comes to the impact; this is an issue of concern to older Australians, and I'm sure that the opposition won't object to me letting older Australians who are on the pension and those who are dependent on these types of benefits know this—that, because of the very extraordinary and irregular impact on the indexation of how these things work, the government will be making announcements to ensure—
Before the Manager of Opposition Business does—I won't give the manager the call at this point—I'm just going to say to the Prime Minister that the question had two parts. One was about aged care and the other was about changes to superannuation. So, whilst he might want to speak about the concern with respect to pensions, he'd need to get a question that asked that to talk about pensioners. It was very specific about aged care and about superannuation.
No, the Prime Minister will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The member for Shortland has been warned. He will leave under 94(a).
The member for Shortland then left the chamber.
I've just got to make the point to the Prime Minister that the question was very specific. It referred to aged care and superannuation. The Prime Minister has the call.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. We will address the matter that I was just referring to, and we look forward to making the announcements when the decisions have been made.
I don't accept the assertions and smears that the Leader of the Opposition has made in relation to the government's position on aged care, and already during this question time I have outlined the responses that the government has made—in particular in relation to specific facilities when questioned on those matters by members opposite. I'll ask the Treasurer to add further to the answer on the other matters raised in the member's question.
I was asked about the superannuation guarantee, an issue that the government is working through. When it comes to the issue of the increase in the superannuation guarantee, this is what the governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr Philip Lowe, said—
Opposition members interjecting—
Yes, Mr Speaker, on relevance. I asked very specifically about the Prime Minister's own commitment that he made on 7 November 2018 on superannuation. He said: 'Yeah, we've got no plans to change the legislation when it comes to the SGL that's been in place for some time—
The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. As I said, the question was about potential changes to superannuation. It might have had other sentences in it, but I think the Treasurer is in order to talk about superannuation and the government's position on any potential changes.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I would have thought the Leader of the Opposition would be interested in the words of the governor of the Reserve Bank. When asked about the increase in the superannuation guarantee, he said the following:
… increases of this form do get offset by lower wages growth over time. It would certainly have a negative effect on wages growth. There will be less current income and if there is less income, there may be less spending, and if there is less spending, there may be less jobs.
The Grattan Institute said the following:
Increasing compulsory super contributions in the midst of a deep recession would slow the pace of recovery.
ACOSS have also made comments about it, as well as COSBOA representing small businesses.
Ms Plibersek interjecting—
The reality, and you will see this tomorrow with the national account numbers, is that the Australian economy has been hit hard by COVID-19. We're working through these issues and taking into account the comments and the insights provided by a number of people, including the Reserve Bank of Australia.
I do, Mr Speaker—the Prime Minister's transcript of 7 November 2018, in which he said: 'We want to make sure that Australian workers actually get these additional increases, which go to their future superannuation.'