Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten were asked if they would rule out any further changes to superannuation in the next term of Parliament, in the Leaders Debate on Sunday night.
“Can you give a guarantee tonight to retired Australians and those who are about to retire that there will be no further changes to superannuation in the next Parliament?” asked Ellen Whinnett, National Political Editor for the Herald Sun.
“Yes I certainly can give that undertaking,” answered Malcolm Turnbull.
“Superannuation is a critical part of Australian savings. What we have done is made some big changes, proposed some big changes, which will make the super system fairer and more flexible. It will have the result that people on very high incomes, people with very large superannuation balances, will not get as big a tax concession as they have had in the past. But nonetheless, they will still have superannuation; it will be for everybody, still a very, very generous system. But it is designed to ensure that Australians have an income that enables them to be independent of the age pension or supplement it.”
“That’s the object of superannuation. It’s not designed, it should not serve to be a substantial wealth creation vehicle for the very rich. So with all due respect to those who suggest we are only serving the interests of the wealthy Australians, there are many that are unhappy about the changes we have made,” Mr Turnbull said.
In response to the same question asking if he would rule out further changes to superannuation, Bill Shorten said: “The Labor Party’s always supported improving superannuation.”
“It was the Labor Party who introduced superannuation, got it to 3 per cent, got it to 9 per cent, we proposed moving it to 12 per cent and we passed that, but then the Liberals reversed it and have frozen it at 9.5 per cent. Labor’s the party of superannuation. I can give this guarantee tonight. No change that the Labor Party has ever contemplated are retrospective.”
“One of the quite shocking developments in the Government’s budget on May 3 was that Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison have now created real uncertainty about the whole superannuation system because they’re proposing retrospective changes. Now Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison say the changes aren’t retrospective. Just ask one of the many people affected by these changes. Now, the other thing about retrospective changes to superannuation. Whilst this affects just some people and not all people, I have a basic principle of government. A basic principle of Parliament which I adhere to.”
“Never introduce retrospective changes to laws. And the reason why is that every person in the superannuation system is now undermined because if Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison with no warning, with no electoral mandate, can introduce changes which retrospectively penalise investors in superannuation, how do we know they won’t do it again?” asked Mr Shorten.