19 June 2023


I rise to respond to this frankly ridiculous and misleading scaremongering motion that the opposition have brought today regarding superannuation tax. Frankly, it demonstrates just how out of touch they are with young people today. Maybe if they were really concerned about the future of our youth they'd have a coherent climate change policy. Maybe they'd have supported the government's bill for more social and affordable housing that they've joined with the Greens to further delay in the Senate today. Maybe they'd have backed our Secure Jobs Better Pay legislation to protect young workers from being ripped off by dodgy employers. Instead, we've got this motion about superannuation which is completely misrepresenting the government's policy.


Our government has been completely upfront about the challenges that are facing the economy and the budget. We're making a modest adjustment to superannuation tax breaks for earnings on balances above $3 million, a change that will not come into effect until after the next election—99.5 per cent of Australians with super accounts will still receive the same generous tax breaks that they do now, and the 0.5 per cent of people with balances over $3 million, who this change will affect, will still receive tax breaks, just slightly less generous ones. So there are a few facts about our actual policy.


Let's remember what we're talking about here: we're talking about the superannuation system that Labor built, which is seen as a world-leading example. The opposition will always attack the superannuation system, because they don't believe in it. We will always protect it and make it stronger. The simple fact is that young people today can only even conceive of a super balance of more than $3 million because of the success of Labor policy in this area. But, of course, in conflict with what this motion suggests, the majority of young people will not have a super balance of more than $3 million. A young person earning $90,000 today, with an increasing salary throughout their life, will almost never accumulate $3 million in their super accounts. In fact, Treasury projects that in 2052 only the top 10 per cent of earners retiring that year will have more than $3 million in their super account. So it's pretty clear that the coalition are not talking to young people about the issues that are important to them.


It's a good opportunity to compare the pair here. Labor is offering changes to make super concessions fairer, and the Liberals are going after the most vulnerable with schemes like robodebt and attacking Medicare. Labor supports Australians with energy bill relief and more affordable housing for children and families fleeing domestic and family violence, but the Liberals want to die on the hill of stopping the 0.5 per cent of highest super balances from a modest tax reform. Labor backs action on climate and environmental law reform, and the Liberals want to put a nuclear reactor in your backyard. Talk about priorities!


But it's important for me to also note the sheer hypocrisy of this motion put forward today, because the former coalition government made changes to superannuation taxation which impacted eight times as many people as these changes do and lowered the contribution tax threshold without indexation. The coalition also continue to try to change the super system to force young people to raid their super for housing. While they present that as something helping young people, it is not. That's not what the superannuation system is for. That is actually forcing younger people to rob their future selves. We saw this in COVID, where that was the first place they sent young people to access money when they needed it. Perhaps, if they actually wanted to support young people through that crisis, they could have made the JobKeeper scheme eligible to casual employees, for example.


This motion is just another example of scaremongering from the opposition and being completely out of touch with the priorities of young people. I know that the young people in my electorate—and my electorate is actually the fourth youngest electorate in the country—want to see a progressive tax system that supports other priorities. (Time expired)