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Wednesday, 3 September 2014
Page: 6362


Senator LUDWIG (Queensland) (15:02): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answers given by the Minister for Finance (Senator Cormann) to questions without notice asked by Opposition senators today relating to measures contained in the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Repeal and Other Measures Bill 2014.

What happened yesterday and today was we heard from ministers who made it absolutely clear that the Liberal Party never supported workers getting superannuation and still do not today. Twenty years ago the Liberal Prime Minister said:

Compulsory superannuation is one of the biggest con jobs ever foisted by government on the Australian people.

The only con that is happening here today from the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the Minister for Finance is just that: the removal and freeze of superannuation. The absurd claim that workers will get more money in their pay packets because of a delay in superannuation increases is ludicrous in the extreme. It shows yet again that the party of markets has absolutely no sense of how markets operate. Do they really, seriously think that an employer will pass on the equivalent superannuation increase in wages, or are they just that naive?

Even Kate Carnell, head of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has come out and hosed down this outlandish spin and deception by the Prime Minister. She said a long freeze on super will not guarantee pay increases of equivalent value. Bell the cat. They want people to work longer and harder and not to have access to their own pool of savings. The Liberal Party believes that capital is only for the bosses. They want it to remain a secret locked box not for workers. They hate industry funds as well. They hate working people in control of serious investment and serious capital accumulation.

We all remember it was employer groups that took to the High Court the industrial issue in the late nineties to try to prevent superannuation being included in awards. It was the employers who did not want superannuation in awards to be paid to workers. They wanted to keep it to themselves in defined benefit schemes so they did not have to pay workers when they retired. These are people who also line the Liberal Party pockets. The biggest employer groups and businesses never, ever supported superannuation, and those opposite have got their script from them. They still do not support superannuation, and every opportunity they get they demonstrate why they do not support superannuation for workers.

The Liberal Party are the economic vandals, the socially irresponsible, the party of idiotic cruelty which always will dance to the tune of those who do not believe in workers controlling their own destinies through managed retirement funds. The Liberal Party wants superannuation gone, and there is no doubt about that. Given half a chance of another dodgy backroom deal, they would repeal superannuation overnight. They would ram it through the parliament just like they rammed the raid on super funds yesterday. Of course, Labor will not stand for it. We will continue to campaign for workers' retirement savings just as we always have and always will.

It does not take much for the Liberals to lash out at super. They did it again yesterday and today in saying that super is an impost borne by employers. If you look at the record and the statistics, it is untrue. As former Prime Minister Paul Keating demonstrated at the macro level from 1992 to 2002, compulsory super went up, labour unit costs went down, profit share of the economy went up and productivity went up as well. As the national economic tide went up and productivity increased, it paid for generous wage settlements including superannuation. Yesterday, as the government attacked workers' superannuation, it also attacked mums and dads, small business and, in particular, working women, who are amongst the greatest beneficiaries of compulsory superannuation. A freeze on super takes away from mums and dads and especially from women.

As the government's own documents showed, they did not leave it at that; they then traded the schoolkids bonus. It is gone as well. It is not hanging around. The dodgy, dirty deal they did yesterday took that as well. (Time expired)