Former treasurer Wayne Swan has hit out at naysayers criticising the Albanese government’s superannuation plan in a fiery debate.
Going head-to-head with radio host Chris O’Keefe on the Today show on Thursday, the Labor president defended Jim Chalmers’ plan to legislate an objective for super.
He also backed in Labor’s consideration to cap tax concessions for those with more than $3 million in their retirement savings, which would save the government potentially billions each year.
“This is a simple proposal, a very sensible clean-up, but it’s very modest,” Mr Swan said.
O’Keefe, who had Dr Chalmers on his show on Wednesday, criticised the Treasurer for changing his plan after seeing “this was all blowing up in his face”.
“It’s typical Labor politics. He flew the kite, saw which way the wind blows, realised the kite is flying back and me and said ‘I better water this down’. That is exactly what happened,” O’Keefe said.
Mr Swan hit back: “With due respect, that’s crap”.
Former treasurer and Labor Party president Wayne Swan got into a heated debate with 2GB’s Chris O’Keefe on super on Thursday morning.
Denying it was “personal” given Dr Chalmers once worked for him, Mr Swan said lies and distortions on the matter of super “don’t reflect well on the people making them”.
O’Keefe bit back, saying Dr Chalmers “wide-ranging think piece … meant nothing”.
“It does mean a lot,” Mr Swan replied.
“If we legislate the purpose of super, which is for retirement, we protect the retirement savings of millions and millions of Australians, a pretty important thing to do.
“People like you beat it up. It gets out of proportion.”
Not backing down despite repeated interjections from host Sarah Abo, O’Keefe said Dr Chalmers’ messaging this week had been all over the place and had scared “the living daylights” out of people concerned about their retirement eggs.
Abo called for everyone to “cool it down a little bit”.
“This feels like the leaders debate, I can’t get a word in,” Abo lamented.
Wayne Swan defended the government’s plans to legislate a super objective and consider changes to tax concessions. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton appeared on the program shortly after and also burrowed down on his attack of Dr Chalmers’ plan.
He warned that while the change to tax breaks might just affect the 36,000 people with more than $3 million in their super accounts to begin with, “with Labor it never stops there”.
“If Labor runs outs of revenue sources, they’ve then got to come after the next rung (of super accounts),” Mr Dutton said.
“There’s a lot of Australians who are very aspirational, who work hard, and for many they’ll have drawn down out of their superannuation to pay their mortgage off so they don’t have those payments in retirement as well.
“People have pumped money into superannuation, and the uncertainty that the Prime Minister is creating I think just shows they can’t manage the budget or the economy.”
Elsewhere, shadow treasurer Angus Taylor accused the government of going back on their election commitment not to make “major changes” to superannuation.
“This is Australians’ money, not the government’s money to play with. I know Australians feel that very strongly, particularly at a tie like this when there is real pressure on Australians’ households,” he told Channel 7.
“Money in super should be invested in your interests, not for the government to tax and spend because they have a hole in their budget.”