Senator Andrew Bragg has told the public broadcaster to stop doing business with industry super funds – and that he’s ready to introduce legislation if they don’t.
Speaking to the Senate, Mr Bragg warned that the ABC should not be accepting payment for news from industry fund-owned The New Daily, saying the public broadcaster “is in business with people it should not be in business with”.
“This is a grave error by the ABC because, in getting into business with a hyper-partisan lobbyist, it is putting at risk its veneer of independence, which I think it is on the cusp of crossing a new Rubicon on,” Mr Bragg said.
“How can you be impartial if you're doing deals with the super fund lobbyists, whose only mission in life is to distort the public record in relation to this huge experiment of superannuation? These are the most cashed-up lobbyists on earth. Who could imagine an organisation that is so rich it can run its own newspaper, The New Daily, and have an agreement with the national broadcaster?”
Mr Bragg said that he would request that the ABC end the commercial agreement – and that if it didn’t, he would seek to introduce legislation to terminate “all future agreements”. The agreement, which is worth approximately $70,000, has become a flashpoint in Mr Bragg’s campaign against The New Daily, which he believes has been used to attack critics of the superannuation system.
“The complacency and largesse are there for people to see. Super seems to think it is a state within a state. It shows the contempt that the super funds have for the ‘sole purpose test’, which requires a fiduciary style duty by super trustees to safeguard members’ savings,” Mr Bragg said in November, adding that APRA would have to “improve its performance as a regulator” after failing to bring a single action to enforce the sole purpose test in the more than 30 years compulsory superannuation system had existed.