Former prime ministers lash Morrison's 'cruel' super plan
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called the Coalition's plan to dump next year's increase in compulsory superannuation contributions "cowardly" and "cruel" in a joint press conference with ex-Prime Minister Paul Keating.
Mr Rudd accused the Federal Government of using the COVID-19 crisis to "destroy the superannuation system".
The super guarantee is legislated to rise incrementally from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent starting from next year, but the Coalition is pushing back on the superannuation increases given the current economic conditions.
Mr Rudd accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg of betraying the Australian people and working families if the increase from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent is abandoned.
"This is a cruel assault by Morrison on the retirement income of working Australians and using the cover of COVID to try and get away with it," he said.
Mr Rudd accused the Morrison Government of ripping $40 billion-plus from people's existing superannuation accounts.
"They haven't had an economic policy alternative other than to say to working families, if you're doing it tough as a result of the COVID crisis, then you can go and raid your super," he said.
He labelled the Coalition's stance as the "most recent assault on retirement income policy" and argued that "there is no statistical foundation for it".
Mr Rudd denied that the increments would depress natural wages growth in the Australian economy.
"Pigs might fly," Mr Rudd said. "That is the biggest bullsh*t argument I have ever heard against going ahead with decent provision for people's superannuation savings for the future.
"There is no historical argument to suggest that somehow by sacrificing superannuation increases that you're going to generate an increase in average wages and average income," he refuted. "I can only conclude that this is a made-up argument by Mr Morrison using COVID cover.
"For them to argue that a 0.5 per cent a year increase in the superannuation guarantee level, is going to send a torpedo into the prospects of wage increases for working Australians makes no sense."
"If you're currently on $70,000 a year and superannuation is frozen at 9.5 per cent, and not increased to 12, by the time you retire, you're going to be at least $70,000 worse off, than would otherwise be the case," Mr Rudd said.
Mr Keating introduced compulsory super as prime minister in 1993 which has now seen superannuation accumulate to around $3 trillion.
"We believe that every Australian, every working family should have the opportunity for some decency, dignity and independence in their retirement," Mr Rudd said.
"The bottom line is, if you deny people dignity and independence through the superannuation system, and these measures which the current conservative government are undertaking and are foreshadowing take us further in that direction. Then there's only one course left for people when they retire and that's to go onto the age pension," he said.
"Scotty, Joshy, think about it again. This is a really bad idea," he said. "Don't take a further meataxe to the retirement income of working families for the future. It's just un-Australian."
Originally published as 'Cruel': Former PMs lash Morrison