Senate debates

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Bills

Treasury Laws Amendment (Your Superannuation, Your Choice) Bill 2019; In Committee

11:17 am

Photo of Jane HumeJane Hume (Victoria, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology) Share this | Hansard source

Senator Paterson might, Senator Bragg might, but I don't want to do that. But why should you be forced to be in a fund that you fundamentally don't agree with? You would understand this too, Senator Whish-Wilson. I think that most of those in the Greens would. You might say, 'I only want to invest in an ethical product'—something that doesn't invest in fossil fuels, for instance—but you might be stuck in a fund that does invest in fossil fuels. How unfair is that? Denying you that choice would be unacceptable. So an employee of a university in Queensland wrote to the government with concerns that UniSuper was engaging in political activities that she disagreed with, pressuring companies not to provide services to Adani.

Senator Whish-Wilson interjecting—

That's exactly right. But wouldn't you feel terrible, Senator Whish-Wilson, if you were forced into a fund that was helping Adani. If there was a fund that was supporting and funding Adani and cheering for Adani on the sidelines with a bunch of pompoms as Bob Brown drive past with his convoy, and you were forced to invest in it, that would be unfair on you, and we wouldn't want that to happen to you. We wouldn't want it to happen to anybody. But, due to this woman's enterprise agreement, she was prohibited from switching to a different fund.

There was another employee, also in Queensland, on a contract with a Queensland university, who wrote to her local member complaining about the money that she was wasting paying fees on her UniSuper account while using NGS Super as her main superannuation account. Of course, she was prohibited by her enterprise agreement from having her money paid to her preferred fund. There are many, many examples, even though UniSuper is a good fund. It's a good fund, it does a terrific job and we would encourage people to choose it should they want to, but only if they want to. If they want to put their money somewhere else, they should have the right to do so. There is no sector that is a sacred cow here, no sector that is so precious that we would exclude it from the right of all Australians to choose their superannuation fund.

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