Thursday, 20 September 2018
That the Senate:
(a) notes that women retire with around 40 per cent less superannuation than men, and supports legislative change to close this gap as quickly as possible;
(b) acknowledges that if the Gillard Government had adopted The Greens amendment to the Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010, to ensure superannuation was paid to primary parents on leave, this gender retirement income gap would now be smaller;
(c) notes that the flat 15 per cent tax rate on superannuation contributions is regressive, with a disproportionate impact on the retirement savings for women, as they make up the majority of low income earners below the median wage; and
(d) calls on this or future governments to significantly boost the retirement balances of women by:
(i) making super contribution taxes progressive by setting them at 15 per cent below marginal tax rates, and
(ii) increasing the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset for earners below the tax-free threshold, in order to ensure all workers gain an equal tax benefit from superannuation.
The government has made a number of changes to improve the flexibility and equity of the superannuation system. This helps individuals with interrupted work patterns, including women, to save for their retirement. But, under current arrangements, fees and insurance premiums can eat up a significant proportion of additional contributions. That is why the government's key priority is passage of the Protecting Your Super Package announced in the 2018-19 budget. This will protect superannuation balances from undue erosion, which will enable individuals to make the most of their superannuation savings. Those opposite must support this bill to ensure that the retirement savings of all Australians, but particularly women, are protected.
It is very disappointing that the Greens have refused to give leave to support this amendment today. Unlike the Greens, who are more interested in stunts and posturing, the Labor Party is serious about securing the financial future of Australian women and has announced plans to deliver on this. We know that women retire on about $113,000 less than their male counterparts and something needs to be done. The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government has failed when it comes to superannuation. It has delayed increases to the superannuation guarantee and has planned to abolish the low-income superannuation contribution. In stark contrast, Labor, under Bill Shorten's leadership, has announced that in government we would invest $400 million to strengthen Australia's superannuation system and boost women's superannuation balances. It's unfortunate that the Greens and Senator Waters, who moved this motion, would not allow this amendment to be voted on today and instead have denied leave. All the Greens care about are stunts, while the Labor party is interested in delivering on policies that help Australians.