Two former Labor prime ministers have launched a coordinated strike on what they say is a “cowardly” and “cruel” Coalition plan to dump next year’s increase in compulsory superannuation contributions.
- The mandatory superannuation guarantee is due to start increasing from next year
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison has left open the possibility of deferring the increases
- The former Labor PMs have joined forces to campaign for the increases
In two separate states, at the very same time, Labor heavyweights Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd fronted the cameras to accuse the Federal Government of using the COVID-19 crisis to “destroy the superannuation system”.
The super guarantee is legislated to rise incrementally from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent, starting from next year, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison has left the door open to deferring those increases, given the economy has been plunged into a recession.
If that happens, Mr Keating said the Government would not only be breaking an election promise, but it would also be robbing workers of a 2.5 per cent wage rise.
“Under the cowardly talk of the COVID crisis, they want to gyp ordinary people by 2.5 per cent of their income for the rest of their life,” Mr Keating said from his Sydney home.
“There’s been no wages growth in eight years, so if they don’t get it in super, they won’t get it at all.
“This is grant theft Liberal Party style.”
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Mr Morrison has cited the Australian Council of Social Service, the Grattan Institute and even the Reserve Bank Governor who have warned increasing super contributions could reduce workers’ take home pay or rob them of a wage rise.
“Prior to the election it was certainly my view that those were legislated changes and we had no plans to change any of those,” Mr Morrison said earlier this month.
“COVID-19 has occurred, people’s jobs are at risk.”
Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating united for a rare press conference of former prime ministers advocating a policy position.(ABC News: Toby Hunt)
Speaking in Brisbane, Mr Rudd strongly refuted that argument.
“Pigs might fly,” he said.
“That is the biggest bullshit argument I have ever heard against going ahead with decent provisions for people’s superannuation savings for the future.
“This is a cruel assault by Morrison on the retirement income of working Australians, and using the cover of COVID to try and get away with it.”
The last time the two former prime ministers appeared alongside each other was at the launch of the Labor Party’s 2019 election campaign.
The last time the former prime ministers appeared alongside each other was during last year’s federal election campaign.(ABC News: Andrew Kennedy)
Their intervention in the debate, and coordinated campaign today, demonstrates the ferocity with which Labor will oppose any move to dump the legislated increase in super contributions.
“Scotty, Joshy, think about it again. This is a really bad idea,” Mr Rudd argued.
Both Mr Morrison and Mr Frydenberg have repeatedly said the Government has “no plans” to change the legislation but neither they, nor the minister responsible for superannuation, Jane Hume, have defended it.
There are fears that the Government will use a 600-page review of the retirement income system due to be released before the October budget to make a case for either deferring or dumping the increase in the compulsory contribution.
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