Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Parliament House - Tony Abbott’s attack on Superannuation; 1 year anniversary of Tony Abbott’s lies






SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s attack on Superannuation; 1 year anniversary of Tony Abbott’s lies; Iraq; Vladimir Putin; G20; GP Tax

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Yesterday, in amongst all the other important developments in the Parliament, the Abbott Government declared itself public enemy number one of superannuation in Australia. Yesterday the Abbott Government proposed new rules for superannuation with no warning, which makes it now possible to delay increasing superannuation to 12 per cent to 2034. Yesterday the Abbott Government has said about people on superannuation getting 9.5 per cent that instead of delaying the next increase to 10 per cent, they will for 2 years, they will now delay it for up to 20 years.

This is a massive election promise breach. I've got with me a quote that Tony Abbott said a year ago today. He said, and I quote, "I expect people to be very harsh on a new government that doesn't keep its commitments." He also said last year, in his ruthless pursuit of votes at any cost, he said that "the commitment I give is there will be no unexpected adverse changes” under a Coalition government he leads. No unexpected adverse changes to superannuation.

Tony Abbott didn't just say this once, he said it 14 times. 14 times when Tony Abbott wanted Australians to vote for him, he promised them that there would be no adverse changes to superannuation. So before the election, superannuation was scheduled to increase in 7 amounts from 9 per cent to 12 per cent. What Tony Abbott's done is he is now opening the door to delay increasing superannuation to 12 per cent for 20 years just because he and his friends have defined benefit superannuation. Why is it that he is now, someone who when he retires, will have generous superannuation, he's forcing 8.5 million other Australians to have much lower superannuation when they retire?

This Government loves to tell you that Australia is ageing, well we know that. What he's doing is he's pulling the rug from underneath the feet of 8.5 million Australians. Because of Tony Abbott, if he gets these laws through, what will happen is that millions of Australians, people in their 20s, people in their 30s and their 40s and indeed their 50s, will have tens of thousands of dollars less to retire upon because Tony Abbott's decided to break his promise. Mr Abbott thinks that he can sneak this change under the radar. He's got another thing coming. We all know that Australians don't have enough money saved to retire now. What he's doing is, he is sabotaging the retirement dreams of all Australians.

He's a bloke who wants to on one hand say you've got to work until you're 70 but on the other hand make sure you don't have enough money to retire on. He wants to cut the aged pension indexation rate and yet he's forcing more people to rely upon the aged pension. This Government is so out of touch it's breathtaking. Why is it that someone who earns defined benefits superannuation and his whole front bench who are on defined benefit or on over 15 per cent superannuation are telling the rest of Australia don't do as I do, do as I say? Remember why he always justifies his rotten paid parental leave schemes? He says why should some Australians have paid parental leave scheme and not others?

Well Mr Abbott, stop being the Olympic gold medal winner of hypocrisy. Stop doing over millions of Aussies. Stop denying them a dignified retirement. This is abhorrent public policy. Hands off people's superannuation, Mr Abbott. If you think you can get away with this, you're sadly mistaken. We will fight this all the way. We will never give up on making sure that ordinary Australians, the people getting up this morning, going to work, dropping the kids off before they go to school, people who don't earn a lot of money, we want them not to retire poor.

I'm happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Labor could always allow the Government to repeal the school kids bonus which of course is raised from the mining tax which isn't raising enough money and keep the super in place, is that a consideration?

SHORTEN: The Abbott Government just lie about superannuation. I know it's fashionable to think that everything Mr Abbott said before the election doesn't matter. Let me tell you what he said about compulsory superannuation on a previous occasion to save you the effort of looking it up. He called compulsory superannuation the greatest con job that's ever been foisted on the Australian people. The Liberal Party in their DNA despise compulsory superannuation. So when Mr Abbott says, you know the only time I know when Mr Abbott's talking about superannuation and he's lying - it's when he moves his lips.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, have you been briefed on these reports of a NATO partnership that Australia's Defence Forces would be involved in and do you have any reservations about it?

SHORTEN: No, I haven't been briefed on it.

JOURNALIST: In terms of the situation in Iraq this morning, the PM said, and I quote, "sometimes there are dire and dreadful things that happen" when he was asked about whether or not civilian casualties could be involved here. Is that a statement you're comfortable with?

SHORTEN: Well I haven't seen the full context of the statement and unlike his disgraceful performance on superannuation; I'm not going to start picking an argument with him on everything he says. When it comes to national security, Labor's taking, I think, the approach which people would expect of political leaders in this country. The resupply of the Kurds, I think on balance is absolutely the correct call. The humanitarian relief of innocent civilians being besieged by this dreadful IS terrorist organisation is the right thing to do.

I know that our Defence Forces have very clear rules of engagement. They will take every step in a considered way in conjunction with an international alliance of forces and so I'm not going to start speculating about every other matter.

JOURNALIST: When it comes to the rearming of the Kurds which you've agreed with, which you support, we heard from the Iraqi ambassador yesterday saying that Iraq apparently is not happy, that they would rather the weapons be given to the Iraq government and they can disperse them to people including the Kurds. What is your understanding from your briefings on the Government? Does Australia have Iraq's support and in fact, invitation for this rearming?

SHORTEN: As I'm sure you're aware, Mr Abbott said publicly yesterday that there was support for the ferrying or the resupply of light weapons to the Kurds and I think Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that as well yesterday. I think this is important. I understand that the issues in Iraq, the sectarian divisions, the tribal divisions go back decades and decades. I understand that the resupply of the Kurds is another step in what's been quite a detailed and convoluted and complex history going over many decades.

But what I do know is that the Peshmerga appear to be a competent fighting force who are standing up to the IS and preventing the deaths of many of their fellow Kurds. The provision of light weapons to the Kurds to me, allows people to be able to stand up against this evil force. It is just sensible and I think that the air supply which a range of nations are working on, and also through the Iraqi Government, is a sensible measure. There are no easy options here, but I also fundamentally believe that providing the Kurds with light weapons, the opportunity to defend themselves against people who would kill their families, to me is the only logical choice here.

JOURNALIST: Vladimir Putin is still on the invitation list for the G20. We understand Julie Bishop is going to lobby NATO partners to block the president from coming. Do you think the Government has taken too long to get to this point?

SHORTEN: I'm not going to criticise the Government on this. I said on the morning of the disaster of MH17 became apparent to the Australian people, I said in the Parliament that there should be consequences for the people who have provided these weapons of evil which saw this plane shot out of the sky. I've repeated that since then. I understand that the G20's an international event. It's not a simple matter of just saying yes or no to Putin. I don't want to meet Putin. I’ve got no time for what he's done. I get that the Government has got to work through the issues. So am I 100 per cent about this matter? No, but I'm 90 per cent about what I think about Putin and whether or not he should come to Australia.

But I get that the Government's got to talk to other nations as they do it. I called for increased sanctions on Friday, I'm pleased that the Government has moved in the same direction. Again, we see on these matters, be it the resupply of the Kurds or we see on action about Putin's creeping annexation of Eastern Ukraine or the Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Eastern Ukraine, we see Labor and the Government working together and I think the Australian people think that is as it should be and it is.

JOURNALIST: Just back to superannuation, you criticised Tony Abbott for promising not to make any changes and no shaping to make them. What is the difference between that and what Kevin Rudd said I believe, “No change Superannuation – not one jot, not one tittle” and then, making changes, so isn’t it just another Government breaking that promise isn’t it?

SHORTEN: If you’re that willing to let Tony Abbott off the hook -

JOURNALIST: I’m just drawing the parallel between -

SHORTEN: Sorry, I’m just trying to answer your question. If people are willing, not you personally, but if people are willing to let Tony Abbott off the hook – well I’m not. I know that Australia has a savings crisis for retirement. I know that not enough Australians, the majority of Australians, do not have enough money saved for retirement. In the next few years, twenty in every hundred Australians are going to be over the age of 65. When I was a young man, there was seven and a half tax-payers for every person aged over 65. When my daughter was born in 2009, it was five tax-payers for every person over 65. By the time we reach 2050, the number will be more like 2.7 taxpayers for everyone over the age of 65. What that tells you is we are growing older. That’s a great thing, unreservedly, it’s a great bit of news.

But there is not point working hard in this country and retiring poor. What Tony Abbott said, he said it, it wasn’t like he was a ventriloquist doll and someone else made him say it. He said “the commitment I give is that there will be no unexpected” Well tick that, this is unexpected. He said “no adverse changes” People not having more money in their superannuation - that adverse, just ask them, “changes to superannuation under a Coalition Government”. He didn’t say it once, he said it 14 times.

This nation cannot afford to have people in charge of it who are basically short selling our future, guaranteeing an increase in the money we need for the aged pension. This is the triple whammy. He has got rid of the low income earners tax refund, so if you earn less than $35,000 what you are going to do is you are going to get $500 back off the tax you pay into super. Well he wants to scrap that so there go three and a half million Aussies, the majority women, they aren’t getting more money in their super – thanks Tony Abbott. Then he said he wants you to work until you’re 70, thanks, just the only problem is there aren’t enough jobs. Then what he wants to do is he wants to make it harder for you to have extra money in your superannuation.

Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey do not know how ordinary people construct their lives. They sit there in their ivory towers, earning lots of superannuation and yet they are putting in place policies which will mean, not only will the baby-boomers not have enough money to retire on, Generation X isn’t going to have enough to retire on. These people are the enemies of superannuation.

JOURNALIST: Just on the co-payment, are you concerned that eventually the Palmer United Party and the Government will reach a comprise on this?

SHORTEN: Well, obviously this superannuation measure they’re doing is some kind of deal with the Palmer United Party and Clive Palmer. I don’t know what deals the Government is doing behind the scenes with Clive Palmer. What I do know about the GP Tax, is it’s a dud idea. You do not help cure the sick in this country by discouraging the sick and vulnerable from going to the doctor. Labor will oppose this. We will win the fight to keep Medicare intact for all Australians.

Thanks everyone, see you in Question Time.