Christopher Zinn and Peter Collins

“And can I just make this point, just to set a context? If you asked me to nominate the top five social reforms since Federation – the best five ideas that either side have come up with since Federation – you would have to put the Superannuation Guarantee in that list of five. It is one of the top five social reforms since Federation and it provides for a form of national saving for retirement that never previously existed. It is world’s best practice and I think we’ve got to stop beating each other up about it.

“To look at the politics of it for a second – that was an initiative of [the] Keating Government and the ACTU 20 years ago. It was not only left intact by the Howard Government, but the Howard Government actually introduced a whole raft of incentives for people to put more into superannuation. So, I mean to put it in context, I think there is a degree of bipartisanship that needs to be acknowledged, and needs to be seen as an underpinning of the debate that’s going on at the moment, and the legislation that will eventually go before the Parliament.

“Let’s wait and see what the Coalition does, but…both sides need to take the long-term view.

“If you don’t increase the superannuation guarantee you will go to an increase in tax for the next generation, to pay for the age pension which people will have to fall back on.

“We have worked together, through bodies like AIST [Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees], to look at all of the economic projections, and the indication is that 9 per cent is not enough; 12 per cent is the figure that [we should] realistically pursue and I think it is sustainable, I think it’s something that we need to do. If we don’t do it, then our young members – and…we’re coming up to the millionth member in HOSTPLUS, and it is a young demographic – then those young members are going to be paying more tax in the years ahead to cover the gap, if it’s not covered now by increasing from 9 to 12 [per cent].”

Ged Kearney, president of the ACTU, says the organisation supports the lift to 12 per cent, but is particularly concerned about how the system caters for lower-income earners, and for people, particularly women, who experience broken work patterns.

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