Speeches

GOVERNMENT'S ATTACK ON SUPERANNUATION

December 08, 2020

It is an opportune moment to follow the member for Mackellar and his litany of untruths and verballing of many, many people. Let me set the record straight. Industry super do not donate to the Labor Party. But the fact that they believe that, the fact that they repeat it, goes to the truth of what this debate really is. This debate isn't about advancing the interests of the workers on behalf of the Liberal Party. This debate, from their point of view, is about weakening industry super, rewarding their mates in the banks who can't compete with industry super because industry super outperforms them every day of the week. This debate—their jihad to attack industry super—is all about rewarding their donors, their donors in the big four banks and all the other financial providers.

They talk about choice. But who do they hamstring every time there's a debate? Who do they put more restrictions on? It's industry super. It's not-for-profit super. The banks escape the legislation all the time. It's not a surprise, because this comes from a party that opposed superannuation from day 1. During question time I had a bit of time on my hands so I went through the Hansard debate from the original superannuation guarantee charge debate in 1992. Here are some random quotes I pulled out from one day of debate. Liberal members called it a tax on jobs, another one called it 'stupid and dishonest' and another one called it 'a fraud'. It's clear that the attitude of the Liberal Party has not changed from that time. It has not changed from that time. The litany of untruths from the member for Mackellar just reinforce that.

And don't get me started on Senator Andrew Bragg, a man who's morally owned by the banks. The truth is that this has a huge impact on individual workers. Their choice to freeze super six years ago, the superannuation guarantee charge, and their clear motivation to freeze it again hurts workers every day. The temporary freeze has hurt a 25-year-old who will now be $35,000 worse off over their lifetime because of the so-called temporary freeze. That is the truth. They say that there is a trade-off between wages and increases in the SGC. In the six years before the super freeze wages grew by 3.30 per cent. Guess what they grew by in the six years after the freeze? Maybe four per cent or maybe five per cent. Maybe we had a wage explosion under the Liberal Party when the SGC was frozen. Sadly, wages growth averaged a paltry 2.08 per cent. That is the real, empirical evidence of what occurred: super was frozen and wage growth went down.

The truth is that wages are an outcome of the normal institutional and bargaining processes. Wages aren't determined through some abstract, free-market, perfect competition. It is through the normal institutional pressures in the economy. Lifting the SGC will not impact on wages growth. It just will not. That is what history has shown us. There is no visible correlation between increasing the superannuation guarantee and slower wage growth. In fact, if you look at the years when the SGC increased there tended to be a slightly stronger wages growth in those years compared to years where the SGC was not increased. The truth is this is an ideological attack by a party that is devoted to hurting workers.

It's a party that is devoted to reducing the wage share of national income. It's a party that is obsessed with industry super. They're obsessed because they're convinced they donate to the Labor Party. They're obsessed because they threaten the cosy closed shops that their mates in the banking industry have—those banks that do donate to them. That is the truth behind this. What is the impact of this? The impact of this is that workers so far have been much worse off because of the freeze to the SGC. A 25-year-old will be worse off by $35,000 over their lifetime. This debate is really important, but the ideology, the obsession, the untruths, the ownership of those opposite by the four big banks morally is really what this debate is all about.

GET UPDATES