Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8324

Superannuation


Senator URQUHART (Tasmania) (14:32): My question is to the Minister representing the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Senator Sherry. Can the minister inform the Senate how the Gillard government is planning to fund its forward-looking reforms to ensure Australians receive a better retirement income through a higher superannuation guarantee? Can the minister give an assurance that the govern­ment's plan is transparent and fully costed?


Senator SHERRY (TasmaniaMinister Assisting on Deregulation and Public Sector Superannuation, Minister for Small Business and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism) (14:33): Successive Labor governments over a 20-year period have long recognised that compulsory superannuation was very necessary to strengthen our economy and to boost private retirement savings. We held a view that nine per cent was not enough, and we have announced an increase in the superannuation guarantee from nine to 12 per cent, which is to be phased in gradually over six years. The government have always been very clear about how this would be funded: at least part of the funds from the minerals resource rent tax would pay for this and other very import­ant superannuation reforms. I might point out that a 30-year-old will be able to retire with an extra $108,000 in superannuation.

Until about a week ago, the Liberal-National Party was strongly opposed to compulsory superannuation and increasing it. We heard from Senator Cormann and others that compulsory superannuation would wreck the Australian economy, it would decrease real wages and it would harm small business—very similar to arguments they have advanced with respect to the carbon tax. However, they have now changed their minds. As of Friday, the Liberal Party has changed its mind. Increasing compulsory superannuation is no longer going to wreck the Australian economy, it is no longer going to decrease real wages and it is no longer going to ruin small business. They have decided to support Labor's policy to increase compulsory superannuation. However, the Liberal Party have one major problem: they have no way of paying for it, because it is to be paid for by the minerals resource rent tax. The problem the Liberal Party have is—

Senator Heffernan: Mr President, I rise on a point of order. Minister, do you have to shout?

The PRESIDENT: Senator Heffernan, that is not a point of order.

Senator SHERRY: Having agreed to support Labor's policy of increasing the superannuation guarantee, the Liberal Party have no way to pay for it because it will cost $12.6 billion. (Time expired)





Senator URQUHART (Tasmania) (14:35): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister please outline what the industry position has been on the government's plan to boost the retirement incomes of Australians?


Senator SHERRY (TasmaniaMinister Assisting on Deregulation and Public Sector Superannuation, Minister for Small Business and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism) (14:36): As I have outlined, the industry has been consistent over a long, long period of time—for most of the last 20 years—in supporting compulsory superannu­ation. Apparently this was what convinced a somewhat divided leadership group, accord­ing to numerous press reports today. We heard that Mr Robb, the shadow finance minister, has vowed to fight on and is livid that he was not consulted.

Opposition senators interjecting

Senator CONROY: Well may you laugh, but you still have to find that $70 billion.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on both sides! I need to hear Senator Sherry.

Senator SHERRY: Senator Cormann—who is very quiet today, I notice—who was so keen on rolling the shadow Treasurer, Mr Hockey, and taking his job, was himself rolled last week. But of course Mr Robb, who was not consulted, is not a very happy man. He is livid. How can you trust the Liberal Party when their shadow finance minister is determined to reverse this decision. But there is still a risk. It is not just the superannuation— (Time expired)





Senator URQUHART (Tasmania) (14:37): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Can the minister inform the Senate whether the Gillard government has considered any alternative policies to its historic tax and superannuation reforms?


Senator SHERRY (TasmaniaMinister Assisting on Deregulation and Public Sector Superannuation, Minister for Small Business and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism) (14:38): There are other measures the Liberal Party will have to consider. We are cutting the tax on 3.2 million Australians' superannuation contribution—the contribu­tions tax. We are cutting tax for small business. All of this is going to be funded, like the increase in the superannuation guarantee, from the mining tax, which the Liberal Party still say no to. What we have today is a Liberal Party 'no' to the mining tax, but they have changed their mind on the super guarantee.

Senator Conroy: 'Yes' to super.

Senator SHERRY: Yes, we got a 'yes' at last. But we got a 'maybe' on the contributions tax cut on superannuation—maybe they will roll over on that one as well. And 'perhaps' the small business tax cuts, which are also paid for by the mining tax, will be the next one—that is a 'perhaps'. So we have got a no, we have got a yes, we have got a maybe and we have got a perhaps. I would like particularly to welcome Senator Sinodinos to the Senate. You have come in at a particularly good time. (Time expired)