Bill's Transcripts

ABC RADIO NATIONAL - Tony Abbott’s broken promise on superannuation; Tony Abbott’s unfair Budge



SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s broken promise on superannuation; Tony Abbott’s unfair Budget.

Bill Shorten, good morning.




KELLY: Bill Shorten, Labor lost a lot of political skin over the mining tax, all for the sake of revenue of just $668 million over four years, as we’ve just heard. How sorry are you to see it go?


SHORTEN: I’ll tell you who has lost a lot of political skin – it’s nearly nine million Australians who’ve been mugged by Joe Hockey on the way to doing a dirty deal with Clive Palmer. The consequences of delaying increases in superannuation for ordinary Australians are truly catastrophic.


For me, it’s not about Joe Hockey and huffing and puffing about his Budget, or whether or not he’s made a billionaire Clive Palmer happy. For me, what I’m worried about is that a 25 year old who’s earning $55,000 as we speak will have nearly $10,000 less in their superannuation over the next 10 years.


KELLY: Just on that though, some of the lowest paid Australians, thanks to Clive Palmer, not to Labor, thanks to Clive Palmer, will get to hang on to the Schoolkids Bonus, the Income Support Bonus, the Low Income Super Contribution for another two years.


SHORTEN: We both know, Fran, that the Schoolkids Bonus is going. I tell you what, long after today and tomorrow, long after Joe Hockey’s but a bad memory in terms of the treasury history of Australia, a 45 year old earning $120,000 – and there’ll be listeners this morning driving to work – a 45 year old who earns $120,000 today, will be $20,673 worse off in their superannuation. What this desperate government’s done to justify mugging the Schoolkids Bonus in a dirty deal with Clive Palmer, he has robbed Australians of their future to the tune of $128 billion over the next 10 years in their savings.


Now billions of dollars sounds like lots of money and it’s all – the number of zeroes almost leads people to switch off. And a lot of Australians perhaps don’t pay enough attention to their retirement income when they’re working. But what I can assure Australians is the freezing of superannuation increases, which is a political broken promise, is going to have catastrophic consequences.


It’s all very well for this Liberal Government, who are on their very generous superannuation schemes, to lecture Australia about lifters and leaners. What they’ve done is mortgaged the future retirement income of nearly nine million Australians to make nine mining companies happy. And as for the mining companies and the mining tax, you know I listen to this Cormann fellow, the Finance Minister, and Hockey run around saying the mining tax was terrible for the mining industry, yet they say it wasn’t raising very much money. What I say to the Government is pick your poison and stick to it –


KELLY: But what about you, doesn’t the same apply to you? Pick your poison and stick to it? In 2012 you told 3AW that superannuation is basically – comes out of people’s wages, you said in May last year superannuation is part of people’s wages packet, their remuneration, it’s always been part of people’s wage rises. And yet now you’re saying the Government is taking a big slab of money away from people, as the Government says they’re giving it to them now, rather than later. Is that not right?


SHORTEN: Well unlike the Liberal Government, I’ve spent my whole working life trying to make sure that ordinary Australians have more money when they retire. Superannuation is part of the increases which occur in workers’ wages because of the increase in productive value of the enterprises of which they work, always stuck to that and previous Liberals once understood this.

But this Government attacked us when we increased superannuation, and said it’s a tax on employers. Now they conveniently want to quote me in terms of what I’ve always known, which is superannuation is part of rising wages. What this Government’s done though by freezing superannuation increases, is that they’ve taken away income which would go to people’s retirement, and in the meantime this money which goes into people’s retirement accounts now is tax preferred, it has the benefit of compound interest and dividend imputation. This government has no clue about superannuation and I’m a bit of a historian Fran, I may be younger than some of those on the government benches, but I’ve studied and worked to increase superannuation for two decades.

In 1992 when Paul Keating increased superannuation the Liberals opposed it. And then in 1996 when John Howard was running for office both sides of politics said they’d increase superannuation from nine to 15 per cent. John Howard broke his promise then and froze is at nine per cent. Finally Labor had a breakthrough in 2012 and set out a legislated schedule to increase it from nine to 12 per cent. Yet again, the repeat offenders, the recidivists who hate compulsory superannuation have struck again.

KELLY: Just answer me this though, because this is the line coming from the Treasurer and the Prime Minister very clearly, and they’re quoting you so if you could just answer me this clearly, do you accept that if the money is not going from workers’ wages into superannuation, higher superannuation it will go into their pockets in their weekly pay packets? Do you accept that?

SHORTEN: Under this Government Fran, superannuation’s not a yes or no issue.

KELLY: No, I’m not talking about super, I’m saying if that is foregone for this seven years, do you accept that they will get that money in the short term, in the immediate into their pay packets?

SHORTEN: No, I don’t trust this government to support an increase in workers’ wages. I don’t trust this government in terms of improving the conditions of workers. Fran, the superannuation which we have in Australia provides a $1.6 trillion national savings pool which is available to deepen our equity market, to provide money to individuals which gives them greater control over their retirement, which means that the pressure on the aged pension and commonwealth outlays will be less. Because of these vandals, these disgraceful people who have now sold the future in order to do a grubby deal to make some mining companies happy with a tax which wasn’t hurting mining companies who are making bumper profits, what they have done is committed real and lasting damage to individual retirement accounts –

KELLY: Alright, we’ve got that message, can I say to you, that you keep calling this a dirty deal, a grubby deal, but is the fact that as a result of that grubby deal as you call it, Australians will get, hang on, get to hang on to the Schoolkids Bonus for two years. That’s thanks to Clive Palmer, not to you, Labor has been dealt out of the game?

SHORTEN: Well the Government didn’t have to scrap it, what you’re basically saying –

KELLY: Well they can’t keep all spending and scrap the mining tax, that is reasonable isn’t it?

SHORTEN: What you’re saying here though, is that the Government should be patted on the back for keeping a Schoolkids Bonus for two years, so what? What’s happened here is it’s gone for good after that, and in the meantime there was never a case made to freeze superannuation and Fran, one point which people are not discussing, but Labor will certainly give voice to it, I promise you that, is that at the last election the Government said, Tony Abbott personally said, on 14 occasions, there will be no adverse changes to superannuation. If your superannuation is not going to increase for six years because of Tony Abbott, that passes my definition of an adverse change.

KELLY: Bill Shorten – you’re listening to Breakfast, its 10 minutes to eight – Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is our guest. Just finally, on the issue of promises the Government marks its first year anniversary on Sunday, Tony Abbott has now axed the carbon tax, axed the mining tax, stopped the boats as promised, what’s Labor achieved in that year?


SHORTEN: Well let’s go further about what the Government’s done. They promised no cuts to education, they want to cut education. They promised no cuts to health, they are cutting hospitals, introducing a GP tax, making it more expensive to get medicine at the chemist. They also said there’d be no changes to pensions, and they are cutting the indexation rate of pensions. They said that they wouldn’t freeze superannuation for six years and affect nearly nine million Australians and they’ve done that. And this so-called Indigenous Prime Minister, he’s cut half a billion dollars’ worth of services going to Indigenous Australians. And since this Government’s gone in unemployment has risen.

This government is long on slogans and short on substance, and we will keep standing up for ordinary Australia. How is it that this government could clink champagne glasses in ministerial offices last night, toasting handing back a relatively small amount of money to multinational mining companies, yet what they’ve done is lower the future sights and expectations of nearly nine million people whose superannuation accounts have been frozen.

KELLY: Bill Shorten we’ll leave it there, thank you very much for joining us.

SHORTEN: Thanks Fran.