Superannuation is good for each of us. It is good for all of us. It gives people a dignified and secure retirement. It is the basis of our national savings and our capacity to invest in important national infrastructure.
Mr Wilson (4:05pm) – Thank you Deputy Speaker. We’ve got to a pretty bad place in this country when a government can move so shamelessly from one broken promise to another. And really, as the member for Whitlam said at the outset of this debate, this government was elected on a promise not to touch people’s super and that really should be the end of it. So, we’ve got to a very, very bad place, in politics and in public debate if people become inured to seeing the government just go blithely from one broken promise to the next. And, with this government, it’s not just the broken promises, but it’s who they affect, who they hurt, and how they are done.
And unfortunately, the broken promises are usually perpetrated by a con, and they almost always hurt the people who can bear it least. So we’ve seen that over and over again, we’re going to see that, or we may well see that, in relation to superannuation because the member for McKellar would have people believe that by having less super you’re somehow going to find it easier to own your own home. We’ve got a government that’s done nothing for housing affordability has done nothing to help people in all the many ways that that problem might be addressed.
We’ve been told multiple times that by chopping people’s super, by preventing the payment of the super guarantee, or the increase of the super guarantee, that that’s going to magically improve people’s wages. This is from a government that is literally the master of wage stagnation. We’ve got to the point where wages, as a part of national income, are at a 50-year low. We’ve seen a fall in real wages, we’ve seen wages come completely disconnected from profit and from productivity.
And yet, the government would have the Australian public buy the con that somehow, by now denying them the scheduled super guarantee, that the government promised it wouldn’t interfere with, that that’s magically going to turn into increase wages, which they have not yet ever delivered after seven years.
So, then you turn to who is going to hurt, it hurts everyone, it hurts all of us. Superannuation is good for each of us. It is good for all of us. It gives people a dignified and secure retirement. It is the basis of our national savings and our capacity to invest in important national infrastructure. It is good for each of us, it is good for all of us.
The changes that this government made the first time it broke this promise, I mean, this is a promise it’s going to break many times, if they get the chance, many times. When they first broke it in 2014, the impact of that failure to deliver an increase in the super guarantee has echoed to where we are now, six years from 2014 to 2020. It’ll echo more seriously into the future/
An average 30-year-old worker denied the increase in 2014 is going to be $70,000 worse off at retirement. And it prevented $38 billion flowing into our national savings and into our capacity to invest in infrastructure. So that the change.
Now this one harmful, blithe, broken promise, tossing of the rock into the pond, the ripples spread out for years and years and years. They affect individuals, they affect families, and they affect our nation as a whole, they affect our economy as a whole.
And when you think about the people it affects, who does it affect most? Well, right now it affects young people. But it also affects women, who on average retire with less than half the superannuation savings of their male counterparts. And it particularly affects single women, single women who often don’t accumulate much super during the period in which they’re looking after children, and then have a limited period of time in which they can accumulate super.
And what are we seeing for single women in this country at the moment? I think in the survey, actually that tracked between 2016 and 2018, single parent households, which are majority single women households, the proportion of those households in poverty went from 15% in 2016, to 25%, one in four single parent households, which are generally single mum households in poverty. And this is the kind of change that makes their ability to live secure in retirement, this just pulls the rug out from under them.
And that’s what this government is about. It is always punching down. Every time we talk about fairness. Every time we focus on addressing disadvantage, they start to bleat about class warfare. They start rolling out the smokescreen slogans, class warfare, politics of envy. Well, let me give you the tip, every time you hear those senseless slogans from the government, look out, look out because they are coming for you. They are going to make another change, they are going to make another change to the social compact in this country that makes life harder for those who have least. That is the form of this government, they will do that every chance they get.