17 June 2021

Adjournment Debate - Superannuation


Today we've seen the latest in a long line of government attacks on superannuation in Australia—dirty deals done that ripped up the business of this chamber in order to ram through destructive and disastrous changes to superannuation, changes that prioritised the self interest of individuals in this chamber over the security and wellbeing of the working Australians outside of it. It is a disgrace—and it's just the latest in a long list of disgraceful acts from this government on superannuation.


We've had a formal Liberal Prime Minister describing super as 'a con'. We've had repeated calls from senators opposite to delay legislated superannuation increases. We've had the government's decision to force those struggling during the pandemic to raid their super just to get by, disproportionately affecting those with minimal superannuation balances. And we've had the unbelievable, unfathomable suggestion from the government that those fleeing abusive relationships should raid their super in order to leave. Of course, last night were the extraordinary things muttered by a Liberal senator in this place, who described super as a 'lie' and said that it was time to kill superannuation 'stone-cold dead'.


These are Liberal senators—they are members of this government. They are former prime ministers from the other side, and their actions are disgraceful. Make no mistake: when the Liberals attack your super, they attack your financial security. When the Liberals attack your super, they attack your dignity in retirement. When the Liberals attack your super, they attack your future. The Liberals come after superannuation for one reason, and one reason only: they want to take power away from you. They want to take power away from hardworking Australian families, and it is not hard to guess why. But if we let them keep attacking your superannuation, do you know who will suffer most? Young people, who have already been disproportionately forced to raid their superannuation during this pandemic; women, who are more likely to have less super and less security in their retirement; and low-income Australians—hardworking Australian families.


I'm here to reassure South Australians tonight that Labor will never, ever stop fighting for your superannuation. Super is a proud Labor reform. We introduced it because we believe that every single Australian—every single Australian—no matter how much they earn, deserves dignity in their retirement. We believe that every Australian—every Australian—deserves financial security. And we believe that every Australian deserves a whole lot more than what they're getting from this government.


Our superannuation system in Australia is the envy of the world. Its brilliance is in its universalism and its security—the very universalism and security that those opposite want to take away. Labor will never allow it. Labor will never stand for it because we're on the side of hardworking Australians who deserve financial security in their retirement and who deserve dignity in their retirement. We're on the side of the women who are working harder and harder every year but see their superannuation balances not matching anywhere near those of the other gender. We're here for young people who have watched their superannuation balances go down and down during this pandemic because they had to raid them to survive. We're on their side. We're on the side of working Australians. We're on the side of superannuation, and we will never, ever stop fighting for it.