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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Page: 1482


Mr MURPHY (Reid) (15:55): With respect to the member for Boothby and the member for Casey, who moved this motion: what a load of nonsense; what a load of rubbish we have just listened to! Indeed, what a load of humbug and cant. You can be sure that the only existing plans to increase superannuation tax is the Liberal-National coalition's plan to reintroduce a 15 per cent supertax on 3.6 million low-income earners, of which 2.1 million are women. They are going to slug the hard-working families in our country; that is the signature policy that they are going to take to the next election. I would like to take you back to 1995 when the current Leader of the Opposition, the member for Warringah, Tony Abbott, said:

Compulsory superannuation is possibly the greatest confidence trick of the last decade.

That is what the current Leader of the Opposition said in 1995. It is in his DNA. He is the alternative Prime Minister and all that we have got from the opposition is just all this nonsense and rubbish because they know that the Australian Labor Party are the champions of superannuation. All that we have been listening to from the other side is just complete rubbish.

In fact, the coalition are just a collection of parties that have bad plans, plans they cannot even pay for except by slashing and burning and wreaking havoc on budgets, on families, on workers and looking after their rich mates. What about some explanation of the $70 billion black hole? No explanation from the Leader of the Opposition or any of his alternative economic team to explain that black hole. But I tell you what: they have sent a clear message to the people of Australia that the opposition are quite happy to look after their rich mates and give them a very, very rich tax cut—and I am talking about the likes of Gina Rinehart, Andrew Forrest, Clive Palmer, all of whom will benefit massively. They are the last people in Australia that we should be looking to give tax relief to, yet this opposition, as I said, wants to put a supertax on 3.6 million low-income-earning Australians—and I repeat—of which 2.1 million are women.

Labor is the party that is working hard to support families and to ensure a future for their children. Labor has been, and will continue to be, the champion for families and the superannuation. Labor is the champion of superannuation. It is the party that invented it. It increased it. The coalition has opposed it at every step of the way, and yet we have to listen to this lecture from that side of the parliament. It is absolutely breathtaking! It has obviously forgotten that it was Prime Minister Hawke and Prime Minister Keating who championed the cause of families and brought universal superannuation in over the screams of business, the rich and those whom those opposite support and give succour to. It is Labor who will continue to ensure that future generations will have a nest egg to assist them in their retirement phase of their life.

Superannuation needs to be sustainable and it needs to be fair; we, on this side of the House, will always ensure that superannuation remains fair and equitable. We will always act in the national interest and do what is right for the majority of Australian workers, not just for the privileged few in this country who are massively rich. That is what we have always done; we have looked after the workers in this country.

When we make changes to superannuation the majority of workers benefit, not the rich people in Australia. As many as 8.4 million people benefit today from the increase in super contributions from nine to 12 per cent that was initiated by our government. One in three low-paid workers, or 3.6 million, benefit from tax-free super contributions thanks to the Australian Labor Party and the Labor government. Australians contributed a record amount to superannuation over the past year and the outlook is strong, thanks to the Labor government's reforms. Australia's total superannuation savings are projected to be $500 billion higher by June 2037 as a result of the Labor government's superannuation policies.

We have removed the upper age limit on universal super contributions, which means Australians aged 70 plus can get universal super, and those opposite have opposed this. Our financial advice reforms have tidied up some of the worst practices in the industry and will give SMSF members greater confidence in advice. That is a good thing but it is opposed by the opposition. We have consistently provided draw-down relief to self-funded retirees. That is another good thing not supported by the opposition. In November last year we provided tax certainty for deceased estates by clarifying that we will amend the law to allow the pension earnings tax exemption to continue following the death of a pension recipient until the deceased member's benefits have been paid out of the fund. We will not make changes for change's sake. The Prime Minister has reiterated that the government will never remove tax-free superannuation payments for the over 60s. What is the Leader of the Opposition's commitment or lack thereof to superannuation, I ask?

The coalition never has and never will support superannuation. They will only attack our initiatives to help working families. As I said, the Leader of the Opposition has confirmed that he will raise taxes on 3.6 million Australians, including 2.1 million women earning up to $37,000. That is a national disgrace. The Leader of the Opposition has confirmed he will scrap the tax free low-income superannuation contribution. That is a national disgrace. This means nearly a third of workers will have their superannuation taxes increased by up to $500 a year under the opposition. God forbid if they get elected to this place on 14 September.

I restate that the Gillard government's rate of low-income superannuation contribution tax to zero for workers earning up to $37,000 puts the money into their super instead—not into the pockets of Gina Rinehart, not into the pockets of Andrew Forrest and not into the pockets of Clive Palmer. This will build the wealth of some of our lowest-paid workers by almost $1 billion a year, which will help take the pressure off the pension. Under the coalition, around one in three workers, or 3.6 million workers, would pay up to $500 a year more because of the coalition's plans. This is disgraceful. The coalition hates the idea of ordinary workers accumulating wealth. The only wealth they want to build is that of the billionaires I have referred to. The past few days have shown that the Leader of the Opposition is a dangerous policy lightweight, in my view, who has no vision for Australia's future prosperity and jobs in the Asian century.

A northern economic zone already cuts to shreds a network of dams that cannot be paid for except by attacking families. This is a coalition that simply does not care about the majority of Australians, a coalition that certainly does not care about superannuation, does not care about jobs and does not care about growth. I make no apologies for putting Australian jobs and growth first. I know that the Australian Labor government makes no apologies for championing jobs and growth in our country. Every decision that our government makes is about Aussie jobs and growth, not looking after the rich and privileged who do not need any further assistance from us to secure their prosperity.

To build on a combination of resilient economic fundamentals that are the envy of the world we have established solid growth, low debt, very healthy public finances, contained inflation, low interest rates and a gold plated AAA credit rated economy. That is what we have, yet every day we hear all this humbug from the other side attacking our economy when we are the envy of the world. And we are not done yet. We are investing in labour reforms for the future, the NDIS, Gonski and the NBN because we stand for an Australia where every child can get a quality education, where their parents can have a decent paid job and their grandparents can retire with a dignified income. Only a Labor government will ensure that.

I conclude by reminding this House that it is Labor who are the champions of superannuation. I do not believe for one minute that fair-minded Australians would think for one minute that the opposition is going to do anything to help them in terms of building their nest eggs. What they do know is that they are only going to look after the most privileged and richest people in our country, and that is a national disgrace.