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Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Page: 6364


Senator LINES (Western Australia) (15:12): Isn't it interesting that here we have the government, as usual, completely unable to defend the dirty deal they did yesterday. There is no mention of the brand new dirty deal on super, there is no mention of taking billions of dollars out of retirement incomes—but that is what we expect from the government. They are a government of no fact and all fiction. As long as they are hurting someone else other than their rich mining mates and those in the big end of town, they are pretty happy.

No matter how the Abbott government tries to dress it up, there is no getting away from the fact that they have stolen superannuation entitlements from 8.5 million Australian workers. They have reduced 8.5 million Australian workers' retirement incomes by their seven-year freeze on superannuation contributions. Despite the many questions we asked them today in question time, they were not able to defend their actions and they were not able to truthfully explain what they had actually done. But Australian workers will not be fooled.

They have done this dirty deal in partnership with the Palmer United Party and on the back of the Prime Minister's clear promise on 6 April 2013, which I am going to quote from, because it is worth reminding the chamber. The Prime Minister said:

Our clear categoric commitment to the Australian people is that we are not going to make unexpected, adverse changes to superannuation.

Let us be very clear—what the Abbott government did yesterday in its dirty deal, assisted by the Palmer United Party, was betray 8.5 million Australian workers by freezing increases to their super. That is both unexpected and adverse. Abolishing the low-income superannuation contribution is an adverse outcome. No matter how they try to dress it up and no matter how they say they support super, they do not. Mr Abbott is on the record calling super 'a con job'.

So what does the freeze mean for 8.5 million Australian workers? With the compounding effect it will mean the loss of $100,000 over a lifetime. On ABC radio we heard another blunder by a senior minister. Mr Pyne said this morning that the 2.5 per cent difference—the difference between the frozen super contribution of 9.5 per cent and the 12 per cent—would somehow end up in the pockets of workers and that workers would somehow be better off. If that is the government's view, they need to guarantee that the 8.5 million Australian workers will receive from every boss in the country in addition to their next wage increase an extra 2.5 per cent that compensates them for their stolen super. Just like the so-called carbon tax on electricity bills, the pay packets of 8.5 million workers should clearly show, according to the logic of Mr Pyne, this extra 2.5 per cent as the stolen super levy. Are the government going to guarantee that? No, of course they are not because they know that is not the truth.

I can say as an experienced and proud union official that when I sat down with workers to negotiate no employer ever said that there was this much for super and this much for the wage increase. That is a complete furphy. If the government are going to stick to that line, it is time they passed legislation that says that the 2.5 per cent additional levy that workers lost on their super will be in their pay packets. That is the only way Australian workers can be guaranteed. But the government will not do that because they have done a dirty deal, are embarrassed and do not really care about the 8.5 million Australian workers who will be worse off under the dirty deal that they did yesterday. It will be on their conscience when they look workers in the face and pretend they are somehow better off.