Paul Keating has accused the Morrison government of kneecapping compulsory superannuation to fund the recovery and painted opponents of the super guarantee increase as “baby-faced Liberals”.
Mr Keating slammed the early super release scheme, saying the government should have provided public support “from the get-go” rather than force people to dig into their retirement savings.
“Of the income support in Australia in this COVID emergency, $32 billion has been found and paid for by the most vulnerable, lowest-paid people in the country – that’s the people who have taken $20,000 out – and $30 billion has been provided by the Commonwealth under JobSeeker and JobKeeper,” Mr Keating told media.
“Instead of JobKeeper and JobSeeker carrying the main burden of income support from the get-go, what we’re finding is that the main burden of income support is people ratting their own savings, to the tune where now 600,000 broadly young people under 35 have no superannuation accounts at all.”
Mr Keating, an architect of Australia’s compulsory superannuation system, savaged arguments in favour of the early release scheme – primarily the insistence of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg that people should be able to withdraw and use their super as they please.
“If it was always their own money to use as they please, there would never be any superannuation,” Mr Keating said. “The government [has] said, ‘It’s their money’ but they haven’t finished the sentence. It’s their money, accumulated under very concessional tax arrangements, for one purpose: a retirement income.”
Mr Keating also blasted a group of Liberal MPs who have been calling for a freeze in the increase of the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent, saying an “active, dynamic” superannuation pool would boost the recovery and that the legislated increase was so small that “in the blink of an eye you’d miss it”.
“There’s no economic case for it not to go ahead,” Mr Keating said. “None. There’s a prejudicial case from some of these baby-faced Liberals… these first-term senators are a particularly modest form of political life.
“The argument for 12 (per cent) is a very basic argument about adequacy.”
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