A rookie Coalition Senator has launched an extraordinary attack on the universal superannuation system, saying people earning below $50,000 should be cut off from employer-contributed retirement savings.
New South Wales Senator Andrew Bragg made the suggestion in his first speech to parliament – traditionally an occasion where incoming parliamentarians outline the issues that are most important to them.
Senator Bragg said that superannuation should be voluntary for people earning under $50,000 – a situation that would see hundreds of thousands of working Australians retire in poverty.
He also suggested that the Government would benefit from higher taxation revenues as they would be able to tax the increased wage at a higher percentage than the concessional taxation rates applied to superannuation contributions.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has claimed that his Government supports the universal superannuation system, but Senator Bragg’s comments come after a string of backbenchers have attempted to undermine the workers’ retirement by opposing the lifting of the freeze on superannuation rates.
Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly:
“The Australian industry superannuation system is the difference between a dignified retirement and working people spending their final years in crushing poverty.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison claims that his government supports a dignified retirement for working people, but the words and actions of members of his government tell a very different story.
“Andrew Bragg, who is paid $25,000 a year in super on his large parliamentary salary, wants to exclude all Australians earning $50,000 or less from what is supposed to be a universal superannuation system.
“This is cruel, hypocritical, regressive and unfair.
“The fact he wants to bolster government funds by increasing the tax on the retirement savings of people earning under $50,000 only weeks after his Government gave huge tax handouts to people earning half million dollars a year heaps cruelty upon cruelty.
“Workers fought for and won compulsory employer-paid superannuation as workplace right.
“Senator Bragg wants a return to regressive class-based system of the 1970s where only the wealthy with high- paying jobs have the prospect of a dignified retirement.
“His views have no place in a modern Australia and the Prime Minister should condemn them.”