Senate debates

Monday, 4 December 2017



3:17 pm

Photo of Doug CameronDoug Cameron (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Human Services) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to oppose Senator Brandis's motion and support the amendment that's been put forward by Senator Wong. This is a government that is an absolute rabble. Nothing demonstrates more the rabble of a government that we have sitting here than what we have just witnessed. We have just witnessed a government that can't manage its own business, a government that can't get any significant legislation through this place without lengthy, lengthy arm twisting of the crossbench.

This is another attempt to destroy the effectiveness of industry superannuation in this country. It's about handing over power, influence and profit to their mates in the banking industry and, in my view, it's part of the deal that they did to get a banking royal commission that the banks would allow them to put up. The banks said, 'We'll allow you to put a royal commission up,' and that's exactly what they did.

What they did was widen that royal commission into the superannuation industry with specific reference to the industry super funds. What they've argued is that the industry super funds are supposedly doing the wrong thing. Let me take you through what the industry super funds have done. In one year, they outperformed the banks by 3½ per cent; in three years, they outperformed the banks by 2.58 per cent; in five years, they outperformed the banks by 2.49 per cent; in seven years, they outperformed the banks by 2.5 per cent; and, over 10 years, 2.38 per cent. That is money into workers' pockets. And what this mob wants to do is hand that type of governance over to the banks to allow them to rip workers off. That's exactly what this is about. The crossbench should not have a bar of this. The crossbench should support our amendment and get this dealt with how it should be.

The superannuation industry, the trade union movement and the Labor Party—if they are part of a reasonable royal commission, let's have a look at it. I reckon the superannuation funds have got more to brag about than the banks have ever had in this area. It was the union movement that set superannuation up for blue-collar workers. Blue-collar workers didn't have superannuation that could be vested. You couldn't take superannuation from one employer to another until the ACTU and the Labor Party put the legislation in to make this happen. I personally, when I left the Electricity Commission of New South Wales in 1979, had $17,000 in superannuation that the electricity commission took off me and my family. And, yet, they want to go back to a position where they hand it over to the banks.

This is an outrageous proposition from this government. The crossbench should deal with this matter now so that they can have a break at Christmas without the government continually coming after them on behalf of their bosses, which are the banks. Their bosses are the banks—the banks that tell them whether they can have a royal commission or not, the banks that rip ordinary workers off and the banks that can't deliver on superannuation outcomes. The government want the industry superannuation funds to be like the banks. Well, I don't. I don't want the industry super funds to be like the banks. I don't want them to have the same governance as the banks that allows the banks to rip working people off. This is an important issue for the crossbench. Don't give into this rabble of a government. Don't give into this government that is a dead man walking. This is a government that is not going to be here in the future. Deal with this properly. (Time expired)


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