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Time for democrats to stop dithering

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Senator Richard Alston Shadow Minister for Superannuation — For Media —


Today I gave notice to disallow the proposed increased in the Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC) for large companies from 4% to 5% scheduled from 1 January 1993.

This will give the Democrats the opportunity to get off the fence and play a positive role in the resuscitation of the Australian economy.

It is now more than 6 months since the Government and the Democrats did a deal to enable the Parliament to disallow the scheduled increase.

The Democrats insisted on this flexibility in order to ensure that business was not further crushed by any unnecessaiy and unaffordable cost increases due to a lack of capacity to pay, particularly in the current climate.

Since that time the economy has gone from bad to worse and there can be no justification for continuing to hold the sort of sword of Damocles over the heads of thousands of employers.

The Democrats have trailed their coat on this issue for long enough: on 8 August the Australian reported Senator Kemot as saying that without a substantial recovery by the end of the year the Democrats would disallow the increase. But despite the fact that the economy has since been hurtling south at breakneck speed they still refuse to commit themselves.

In the Age on 28 October last Senator Kemot was quoted as saying "We can't afford it" and she announced that she was proposing to a meeting of her colleagues on the following Sunday that they should block the increase.

Yet as recently as 24 November she was coyly telling the Financial Review merely that the Democrats "may block the increase".

This grandstanding has gone on for long enough.

Treasury has made clear the consequences of any increase:

- up to 10 000 jobs will be at risk over the next 2 years

- an additional $700 m cost burden on employers

- over 25 000 businesses will be affected

- over 40% of wage and salary earners will be involved.

It is time for the Democrats to stop protecting the Government and start protecting jobs.

For further information contact: Senator Alston on [06] 277 3605

2 December 1992 COMMONWEALTH