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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7133


Mr MITCHELL (McEwenGovernment Whip) (14:18): My question is to the Treasurer. How has the government put working people first to secure the strength of the Australian economy and how will the government's plans support working people into the future?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:18): I do thank the member for McEwen for that question. This government will always put hardworking Australians and their living standards first. That is what we did back in 2009 when those critical votes were taking place in this parliament on 13 and 14 March of that year, when the Leader of the Opposition could not come into the House and support or oppose critical bills which saved our country from recession. He could not do it. He could not even walk into this House and have the courage of his convictions to vote against those bills. But the Liberal Party voted against those bills. If they had had their way, we would have experienced a recession and we would not be in the position of strength that we are in now.

Everyone on this side of the House is proud of what we did. We had the courage of our convictions to support jobs and growth. But we also understand that we have to make sure we put in place the investments for the future and that is what we did in our recent budget. We have fully funded our education reforms. Everyone on this side is proud of those bills which have just gone through the Senate today because they go to the heart of extending our economic capacity. We are investing in our people for the decades ahead and meeting the challenge of the Asian century by lifting the standards of education of all of our children.

We also understand that what we need to do is to lift our national savings and that is why we are increasing the superannuation guarantee from nine to 12 per cent. We support dignity in retirement and adequate living standards for people who retire. We also understand that national savings are critical to our economic future. During the global financial crisis, it was our national savings superannuation pool that assisted all of our businesses to get through that crisis. But we need to build it up again. Half a trillion dollars will be added to that superannuation pool by the investments that we are making and the people of Australia are making in superannuation.

As with education, superannuation is opposed by those opposite. This is what the opposition leader said just last year about superannuation:

Well, we strongly oppose the superannuation increase. We have always as a Coalition been against compulsory superannuation increases.

What that means to a 30-year-old on average wages, if they knock off the increases in the superannuation guarantee, is $127,000 at retirement. These are big differences in the investments and reforms we have to make to grow our economy, to give people security and to lift their living standards. But on every one of these we are opposed by those opposite. We understand the importance of jobs and growth. We understand the importance of lifting living standards. Those opposite simply want to wreck them.