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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Page: 3234

Senator FARRELL (3:07 PM) —It is very hard to believe that Senator Brandis is serious about this issue. What Senator Brandis fails to look at is the benefits for all Australians that are going to flow from this superprofits tax. The government are all about creating a fairer Australia. We intend to create a fairer Australia by introducing this new supertax regime on superprofits that are made as a result of the resources boom.

Senator Brandis —How is anything above the Commonwealth bond rate a superprofit?

Senator FARRELL —If you are happy to listen to me, Senator Brandis, I am happy to explain the benefits.

Senator Brandis interjecting—

Senator FARRELL —Just listen. I sat very quietly, Senator Brandis, while you got stuck into this tax. I would appreciate the same courtesy from you while I explain to you how all Australians, including those people who have superannuation funds, will benefit.

I can remember a time when the only people in Australia who were the beneficiaries of superannuation were men—predominantly in managerial positions—who worked a lifetime for their particular employer. One of the great achievements of the Hawke-Keating government, as you will recall, Mr Deputy President, was the introduction of compulsory industry based superannuation. We started that program. We started it at three per cent—in fact Australian workers had to give up a wage rise in return for getting that three per cent—and over time built it up to nine per cent. I can recall when John Howard promised to continue to lift that figure. He broke that promise as he did so many other promises that he made. That nine per cent was to benefit all Australians so they could have a decent income in retirement.

How is the current Labor government—another reforming Labor government of the ilk of the Hawke-Keating government—going to extend and continue the reforms that were made by the previous Labor government? We are going to do it by trying to share fairly for all Australians the benefit we get from our resources industry. Rather than holding the rate at nine per cent, which to be perfectly frank is not sufficient to get a fair return in your retirement years after a lifetime of employment, we are proposing to lift that amount from nine per cent—the figure that it was left at when Paul Keating was defeated as Prime Minister—to 12 per cent. We are not going to do it overnight; we are going to do it gradually in the way that would have happened had Paul Keating not been defeated in 1996.

Through our reforms in the late eighties and early nineties we introduced compulsory superannuation. We started the process of expanding superannuation so that all working Australians would benefit. Now we are going to complete the job. We are going to complete the job by lifting that rate another 33 per cent: from nine per cent to 12 per cent. Of course, that is not all we are going to do with this new tax. It is not only working families that are going to benefit from this new tax but companies.

Senator Abetz —Nonsense!

Senator FARRELL —No. Companies will benefit, Senator Abetz. Again, please give me the courtesy of listening to me. We are going to reduce company tax, which the Howard government left at 30 per cent, to 29 per cent. We are going to do that from financial year 2013-14. And we will not stop there. We are going to reduce it further to 28 per cent in financial year 2014-15. So it is not just working families that will benefit from this new tax. (Time expired)