Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop interview melbourne

Doorstop interview
Melbourne, 18 May 2013

SUBJECTS: Tony Abbott’s cuts to superannuation

BILL SHORTEN: I think all Australians should be very concerned that the Opposition, and Tony Abbott, have proposed cutting back on peoples’ superannuation savings for retirement.

Superannuation, Australians’ retirement income which they earn as a result of their hard work when they’re at working during their working life should be a political no-go zone, it should be a safe haven. It shouldn’t be subject to new taxes and the amount people have should increase.

Specifically Tony Abbott and the Opposition have said on Thursday night, one: that they intend to delay increasing peoples’ superannuation to 10 per cent by two years. This will cost a 30 year old at work today, earning average full time weekly earnings, this will cost that man or woman $20,000 by the time they retire.

And also we now seriously don’t believe that if the Opposition were prepared to lie about not touching superannuation and now they are, we are worried now that superannuation will never increase to 12 per cent.

What this means that Australians at the age of thirty will be down $127,000 by the time they retire.

The second drastic concern with superannuation that Tony Abbott and his Opposition flagged. Currently 3.7 million Australians earn less than $37,000 a year. On the money which gets paid into superannuation, which is about $3500 if you’re on $37,000. That $3500 is tax free.

Tony Abbott wants to put a new tax on the superannuation contributions of 3.7 million Australians including 1 million Victorians.

So there’s 1 million Victorians who will be paying more tax on superannuation if Tony Abbott gets elected and there’ll be eight and a half million Australians who are going to have less money in the bank, less money in their superannuation accounts when they retire.

Tony Abbott wants to cut peoples’ superannuation to the bone, he is a risk, and Labor has a smarter, fairer way to improve peoples’ retirement incomes so you don’t work hard your whole life and retire poor.

I’m happy to take questions.

REPORTER: Minister was Julia Gillard right in sacking Simon Crean?

SHORTEN: These are old matters, I’m not going to revisit them. The Prime Minister and the entire Labor Government are completely right when they want to introduce a new national disability insurance scheme, we want to make sure that our schools all over Victoria and Australia are well funded. We want to make sure that our kids get the best start in life.

Labor is completely correct when it says it wants to lift superannuation to 10 per cent and then 12 per cent. Tony Abbott is completely wrong when he says that ‘we’re not going to increase superannuation and we’re going to put a new tax on low-paid people so they pay more tax on their superannuation than they currently do.’

REPORTER: The last Minister to be sacked like this by the Governor-General was Jim Cairns. Was Simon Crean’s office as bad?

SHORTEN: What matters in terms of this election is there’s a clear choice between Labor and Liberal. On Thursday night Tony Abbott said that he is going to stop people getting more money in their superannuation for two years, and most likely never will there be an increase in superannuation. The effect of what Tony Abbott and his hard line Conservative colleagues have said is that if you are 30 years old and by the time you retire under the Liberals you will have $20,000 less in your retirement because of Tony Abbott’s crazy, backward looking policies on superannuation. That’s what matters. Eight and a half million Aussies are going to be worse off if Tony Abbott was to get elected and superannuation should be a no-go zone and the message to Tony Abbott and the Conservatives is hands off our superannuation. It’s not yours, it’s the peoples’, and they need to make sure that they’ve got money to retire on.

REPORTER: Minister what’s the economic argument against reviewing the GST?

SHORTEN: It’s very clear – Labor doesn’t stand for increasing the GST. We believe that taxes such as the mining tax, which sees some of Australia’s and some of the world’s richest mining companies paying a fair share to Australians for the use of our natural resources. That’s what Labor stands for.

If Tony Abbott was elected he would give back money to the world’s richest mining companies but he’s saying to mum and dad doing their shopping on a Saturday ‘I want you to pay more tax.’

This is crazy priorities.

There’s a clear choice.

REPORTER: Are you saying the GST should never be examined?

SHORTEN: There’s no doubt in my mind that Labor’s not going to increase the GST. The Liberal Party say ‘vote for us, give us a blank cheque, we’ll set up a number of committees and then we’ll work out different ways for mum and dad to pay more money than they otherwise would.’

Tony Abbott you don’t need to increase the GST, just make sure that mining companies pay their fair share. It’s pretty simple.

REPORTER: Now a super increase (inaudible) company tax rate, isn’t business justified in support this delay given their promised tax cut was dumped by the Government?

SHORTEN: Oh my goodness. This argument that somehow superannuation’s a tax on business hasn’t been borne out in 20 years.

This is going back to the conservative economic witch doctor’s recipe book. It’s just not true.

What happens is that superannuation, the quarter per cent and half per cent increases which would occur annually under Labor are part of the overall real wage increase that inevitably Australian employees would get.

This has never been a tax on business, it is not a tax on business, the only people talking about about new taxes are the Liberals when they want to put a new tax on low-paid workers.

Tony Abbott and the conservatives should not fight against people getting more superannuation when most of them are on defined benefit plans or 15 per cent super.

This is the classic conservative hypocrisy, it’s not do as I do it’s do as I say. Tony Abbott’s on a defined benefit superannuation plan as are plenty of politicians – others are on 15 per cent – yet they want to keep Australia’s employees on 9 per cent.

That’s hypocritical.

REPORTER: Now you wouldn’t talk to us about Simon Crean’s comparison with Jim Cairns, will you talk to us about Warren Mundine jumping from the Labor Party?

SHORTEN: I haven’t seen that. What I know is that these are tough times. What I know is that Australia is still doing relatively well that the rest of the world.

REPORTER: (inaudible) Warren Mundine’s leaving the party?

SHORTEN: What I do know is that at the next election, when voters go into the ballot box, they’ve got a choice.

Lower superannuation, more taxes on their superannuation, schools not getting the money they need – that’s the choice they face.

With Labor, we are proposing that the schools will be better funded, which is paid for an clear how we do it. We are proposing superannuation and retirement incomes should increase – it’s clear on how we would do it.

Tony Abbott would cut peoples’ conditions to the bone. Superannuation should not be a political football. Every Saturday in autumn and winter in Australia we go to watch football, but one thing Australians don’t want is to see superannuation be treated as a political football.

Everyone knows the Liberals are leading in the polls, but this is very arrogant to tell literally millions of Aussies that ‘we don’t want you to have more money in retirement than Labor, in fact we want to you to have less.’

Thanks everyone, good on you.