But because of thelength of time it was done over, it’s beenaccommodated reasonably well. Andif you do our proposal over the lengthof time we proposed, get into people’sbrains that it’s automatic, the debategoes away.Garry Weaven: It’s part of a biggerdiscussion in a way, isn’t it, because whatyou’re really is, politicians are such anappalling race of people that we shouldreally just have a ceremonial election,you know, and let them all run aroundcutting ribbons for the next three years.But take all the important decisionsaway and put them in the handsof some rule book or some independentestablished tribunal.

My fear is thatwould very quickly become outdated,outmoded and so conservative, that itwould be immeasurably worse.For example, I don’t think theReserve Bank was very flash at all whenthey did their first interest rate rise. Iwrote to the papers saying they shouldactually get out of

Canberra and go to

New York, and Ken Henry too, becausethey were all singing the same bloodysong about inflation while the USeconomy’s falling off a cliff.In spite of my concerns about shortterm political behaviour, you need to bevery careful about saying, we’ve so lostfaith in the democratic process we cannever retrieve it.

Michael Bailey: Can I just inviteeveryone at the table to hop into a timemachine, it’s 1993 and compulsory superis enacted, and the proposal to haveit set by an independent body is enactedfrom day one.I’m just wondering, particularlythrough all the years where obviously itwent to 9 and then nowhere, if we hada Reserve Bank looking after the SG,what would its journey have been andwhere would we have been in terms ofsome of our foreign debt problem, ourhousing bubble problem, would we be abit better off in terms of facing the crisisthan we are today.

Nicholas Gruen: I don’t knowwhether there’s anyone around the tablewho would argue that an independentbody of technocrats should take over anessentially political decision to increase,in a long run sense, the level of compulsorysuperannuation.Certainly speaking personally, Isee the role of an independent agencyas one that deals with the parameter,which is the SG, in a counter cyclicalway when it’s reached some level of maturity.

I would argue it’s not fullymature now, but I would argue that thisis an invitation for the industry to helpit get to that level.In fact I think super should keepgoing. I think you’re looking a gift horsein the mouth, it should go above 12 andprobably 15 and should be available forpeople’s deposit on their homes. Foreducation and so on. Doesn’t make anysense if it isn’t a sort of integrated savingspackage.

Join the discussion