Published: 15/06/2021
Category: On The Job
Published: 15/06/2021
Category: On The Job

Australia’s vaunted industry superannuation schemes will face another politically motivated attack this week, as the Morrison Government attempts to pass laws that will undermine the retirement plans of millions of Australian workers.

The proposed “Your Future, Your Super” legislation has been dubbed the “Your Future, Bank Super” laws by ACTU Assistant Secretary, Scott Connolly, who has oversight of workers’ capital issues.

“The Government’s Bill is just another gift to the banks despite the findings of the Royal Commission. If the Bill passes, working people’s retirement savings will be at risk as workers will be pinned to untested, underperforming funds, and it will imperil workers’ insurance,” Connolly told On the Job.

The Government’s proposed new laws would embed a systemic advantage for commercial, for-profit superannuation funds over high-performing, low fee industry funds.

Looking under the bonnet of the legislation, Australian Unions superannuation analysts have identified key elements of the legislation that would leave workers worse off in retirement, these include:

  • Staple more than 3 million workers to a dud fund for life from day one
  •   Imperil insurance for workers in high-risk industries contravening a Senate decision to protect these workers.
  •  Exclude swathes of the worst-performing products from performance   benchmarking
  •  Lumps industry superannuation funds with hugely onerous regulation that for-profit funds would be exempt from
  •  Determine that profits paid by for-profit superannuation funds to their shareholders are in members best interests.

The legislation is just the latest attempt to torpedo Australian industry superannuation.

It follows a concerted campaign from economic hardliners within Federal Parliament like MP Tim Wilson and Senator Andrew Bragg, who championed opening up superannuation accounts for withdrawals of up to $10,000 at the start of the COVID19 pandemic, and who advocate for the use of super balances to be used for house deposits in an overheated real estate market caused by Government neglect.

A home today or a dignified retirement later?

The Liberals clearly want you to choose one or the other and have no interest ensuring that Australian workers should expect both, according to Scott Connolly.

“This is just another attempt by the anti-super Morrison Government to make it harder to for working people to retire well, and we need to put a stop to it. The best thing working people can do is contact the Senate cross bench and tell them to vote against this Bill.”

Julia Angrisano is the National Secretary of the Finance Sector Union of Australia (FSU). She told On the Job that the proposed legislation made it clear that the Morrison Government remained hellbent on protecting its mates in big banking and the commercial financial services sector – both of which were excoriated by the findings of the Banking Royal Commission.

FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano

“When you think about this Bill, it’s a really cynical attempt at ensuring that the for-profit super funds, many of which have a connection back to the big four banks, are given a systemic advantage over that better performing not for profit industry funds,” Angrisano said.

“The way this Bill is currently drafted, it can staple a worker to an underperforming fund for the rest of their life. There’s an estimated three million workers that would be automatically stapled to their current fund if the Bill was passed, and those workers funds are not going to be subject to the same type of performance benchmarking that other funds would be subjected to.

“We’ve come out of the Banking Royal Commission a couple of years ago, and industry super funds were given a clean bill of health in very stark contrast to what we saw emerging out of the for-profit retail sector, where we saw fees being charged for services that weren’t being provided, and fees being charged to dead people’s accounts. It doesn’t get more shocking than that.

“And yet, we’ve got a Government that is just obsessed with looking at industry super, where there isn’t a problem, when actually, we know from talking to our members across the board, that that toxic culture of sales at all costs, has not changed at all, since the Royal Commission. In fact, it’s gotten much, much worse.

It’s really quite shameful that this Government is being so up front about the concessions that it’s handing to retail super funds.”

The National Secretary of the FSU believes that what is driving this continuing attack on industry superannuation is an ideological obsession with ensuring workers do not have a seat at the table when it comes to investment decisions and financial services, which those within the Liberal Party see as their natural domain.

“Fundamentally, this is about their vested interest and protecting their corporate mates, those that are involved in the big four banks and the other for-profit retail sector.

“So, this is this is just an ideological attack. It’s about grandstanding from some members of the backbench who want to be noticed and heard. It’s very worrying and I think that as a movement we need to be defending what’s ours and that is  industry super.”

Protect your right to a decent retirement

War on super hinges on Senate vote

War on super hinges on Senate vote