Senate debates

Thursday, 14 May 2020



12:08 pm

Photo of Anne UrquhartAnne Urquhart (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

At the request of Senator McAllister, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

  (i) our superannuation system is a significant national achievement of which all Australians can be proud, and is the difference between poverty and a decent retirement for most people,

  (ii) the consequences of someone taking $20,000 out of their superannuation now can be very significant at retirement, especially for young people, and for women, who already retire with around half the superannuation of men, and

  (iii) during this period, adequate Government support should be provided so that accessing superannuation is a last resort, not a first port of call for people in hardship;

(b) reaffirms its commitment to Australia's world-class superannuation system;

(c) recognises that:

  (i) serious flaws in the Government's early release superannuation program have resulted in fraud, and

  (ii) despite warnings, including from Labor and the superannuation industry, the Government failed to take sufficient action to address these flaws, designing a system about speed not accuracy, costing individuals thousands of dollars; and

(d) calls on the Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology (Senator Hume) to provide a full explanation of the measures the Government is taking to protect the integrity of our superannuation system and to ensure no further fraud takes place.

Photo of Anne RustonAnne Ruston (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Families and Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Anne RustonAnne Ruston (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Families and Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

Last week measures designed to protect the integrity of the early access to superannuation scheme helped detect a small amount of fraudulent activity associated with the program. This matter is currently under investigation by the Australian Federal Police. This program is supporting Australians through the coronavirus crisis. As of the 11 May, around 1. 4 million applications were approved by the Australian tax office for early release of superannuation, representing around $11.5 billion.