The Australian is reporting that the government wants to raid the super industry – remember the ATO tell us “it’s your money, just not yet”, well maybe never. The ALP have long cast their beady greedy eyes on super, below is a letter Alex Robson and I published in the AFR the day before the 2007 election.
It is surprising that Wayne Swan has rejected Peter Costello’s comments about ALP plans to dip into superannuation funds as “outright lies” (“Labor won’t dip into retirement cash: Swan”, November 21).
Perhaps Swan hasn’t read the ALP’s national platform and constitution, which was formally adopted at the ALP national conference in late April.
Anyone reading that document would see for themselves that the ALP plans to develop specific incentives and structures that will encourage super funds to invest in agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure.
Furthermore, superannuation funds will be expected to invest in low-income housing and the transport network. To be sure, some of these “investments” are worthy of government attention, but if they were viable investment opportunities, super funds would have invested in them already.
Of course, the ALP is hardly going to be so vulgar as to introduce prescribed asset requirements for super funds, but we are promised that Labor in government will review existing public policy to enable greater involvement in infrastructure financing and delivery by Australia’s superannuation funds and also that trustees will be encouraged to evaluate and reduce negative social or environmental consequences of their activities.
What better way to do this than to invest in government pet projects?
The bottom line is this: the ALP itself has indicated that superannuation money will be invested in a range of areas and projects that trustees now have chosen not to invest in.
Swan needs to explain to us where the “outright lies” are to be found. Either Costello has lied, or Swan’s party platform is a lie.
The great irony is that compulsory super is a Labor reform and probably one of the least bad nanny-state policies that various governments have imposed on Australians. The other great irony is that the super industry is in dire need of reform, but not the sort of reform that enriches government at the expense of retirees.