Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has doubled down on his pledge not to make “major changes” to superannuation.
The future of the country’s super system has been in the spotlight this week after Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced the government’s intention to define an objective of superannuation.
In doing so, it would make future policies pertaining to a person’s retirement savings – including early access – more difficult, because the purpose of superannuation would be enshrined as being for retirement income.
Questions about the future of tax concessions have been raised and caused confusion, with the Coalition accusing the Albanese government of breaking its pre-election promise not to make major changes to superannuation.
The government has said it might be time to have a conversation about whether the small number of Australians with over $3 million in their super accounts should have the same tax concessions as people with less, but has not outlined any proposed changes.
Mr Albanese on Friday said all Labor wanted to do was define a purpose of superannuation.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has reiterated – again – he has no plans to make ‘major changes’ to superannuation. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
“What we have said is that on superannuation, we want to see the objectives of superannuation enshrined … (that it is) about people’s retirement incomes. That is the purpose of superannuation,” he said.
“Now, there are exceptions in which people have been able to use their superannuation, but that’s the objective. That is what we have said. That is what we are doing.”
Deputy opposition leader Sussan Ley on Friday accused the government of “making jokes” about superannuation, criticising assistant treasurer Stephen Jones for referring to it as a “honey pot”.
Mr Jones said on Thursday: “There are billions in super, that is a lot of honey to be shared around”.
“Calling it a ‘honey pot’ to be raided for the things they want to spend it on, instead of fiscal responsibility and managing the economy in a way that actually protects the retirement incomes of Australians that have worked really, really hard,” Ms Ley told Channel 7.
“(This week) I’ve met a lot of self-funded retirees, totally unimpressed with this, because they’ve worked hard, they’ve put their money away and they’re not going to rely on the age pension when they’re older.
“We actually need the government to stick to its election promises, instead of all of the different views that we’ve heard this week that actually seem to be saying to Australians, ‘We don’t care about your superannuation, we want it ourselves, we’ve got plans for it and those plans don’t look after you.’”
The Coalition has accused the government of backflipping on its election promise not to make changes to super. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Her panel mate, Education Minister Jason Clare, denied accusations Labor had backflipped on an election promise.
“I don’t think this is a major change. We’ve said two things. One, we think that we should make it clear in the legislation what super is for; that it’s for your retirement. It’s not to be ripped away for other reasons,” he said.
“And two, what the Treasurer said is it’s worth having a conversation about the fact that for one per cent of Aussies who’ve got $3 million or more in their superannuation, should the tax concessions for them be the same for everybody else?
“I don’t have $3 million in my super; 99 per cent of Australians don’t. We said, let’s have a conversation about this and every Liberal MP across the country’s head exploded at that thought. I think that says a lot about the Liberal Party.
“They say they’re for the suburbs, but when it counts, they’re really just for the multi-millionaires.”
Read related topics:Anthony Albanese