House debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Constituency Statements

Coalition Government: COVID-19, Superannuation

11:31 am

Photo of Meryl SwansonMeryl Swanson (Paterson, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

During this pandemic, my office has worked with many people, from constituents, large manufacturers and one of Australia's largest chemical manufacturers to small business, and there has been a consistent message: people want and need help—help to keep the doors open, help to keep their staff in jobs. Sadly, this government have not done the best job they possibly could in this situation. I know that they're comparing themselves to many countries across the world. But, honestly, they were tardy in the JobSeeker and JobKeeper programs, they've made a mess of the economic response; they resisted Labor's calls for a wage subsidy and then they abandoned some of our critical workers—casual workers, and local government employees that fix the roads and collect the rubbish: why don't they deserve some sort of job linkage? They seized the opportunity to dismantle COAG, again turning their back on local government, one of the key levels of government during this pandemic, and they haven't provided enough financial support for many, many Australians.

Indeed, many small businesses in my electorate value the role of superannuation. They value the role it plays in their staff's lives, in their retirement, and in reducing the burden of age pensions. We're proud to call Paul Keating the grandfather of superannuation. We know that Labor, in partnership with employers, delivered super to support workers. We understand the true partnership between business and the people that they employ, and we know that both want to do well out of that partnership. They want to prosper together so that our nation prospers along with them. Superannuation is not some ceramic piggy bank that you take the hammer to when things are going a little bit wonky. We want to preserve that piggy bank so that people can rely on that superannuation in their older years. Tough times are not a mandate to undermine Australian super.

We know that the Liberal government, sadly, hates super, for whatever reason; we'll never know. It's in their DNA. It's why John Howard successfully stalled superannuation contributions for more than 11 years. It would seem that the Prime Minister is desperate to try and recycle old doctrine, under the guise of blaming business. It's just not good enough. To the people of Paterson: I want you to know that a Labor government will protect your superannuation. We won't take a hammer to your piggy bank. We want you to fill that piggy bank as much as you can during your working life.