Senate debates

Thursday, 1 August 2019


Household, Income and Labour Dynamics Survey

5:36 pm

Photo of Kimberley KitchingKimberley Kitching (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Government Accountability) Share this | Hansard source

I would never refer to a member of this place without the appropriate appellation. This government has been in government for more than 2,000 days. Since 18 May, there's been a majority in this place and, essentially, an effective majority in this chamber. If this government, given it has effective control of both chambers, is serious about helping struggling Australians and kickstarting this moribund economy, there would be ways and means of doing that because if you control the Treasury benches you can actually help people. But I think this government has shown that it has very little desire to do that. These are, after all, the quiet Australians which this government claims to represent.

If this government did care and it did worry about the quiet Australians, it would champion a strong superannuation system that provides income in old age and dignity to Australians in retirement. We now know, because of the actuarial tables, that in fact the 9.5 per cent is not adequate and it does need to rise, and even then there's going to be a bit of a gap. But we do know that superannuation does need to rise. You've got a government that says that it believes in limited government, but secretly they're rather statist because in fact what they are doing is setting people up. For example, Senator Bragg's argument around having voluntary superannuation at some levels of income would set people up to be dependent on the old age pension. That is really a statist solution from a government that says it believes in a limited government. In that example you would make women far, far more reliant on others and on the state, disproportionately with males. And, of course, already we know that one-third of women retire into poverty.

There are members that will be in future leadership positions in this government, and they will be making policy decisions for the government. It was as if they were trying to see who could out run each other. I quoted a former Liberal Treasurer earlier, but let me quote another; however, this one has since become the Prime Minister. Back in 2017, Mr Morrison said that low wage growth was 'the biggest challenge facing the Australian economy'. Let me repeat that: Mr Morrison said that the low wage growth was 'the biggest challenge facing the Australian economy,' and that was in 2017. It's now halfway through 2019, and nothing has happened. This government needs to act on the information revealed in the latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, address the declining economy and stand up for working Australians.


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