People should be in control of their own money

22 May, 2023

It is a pleasure to follow the member for Hinkler in his description of where this legislation leads us. I make only one very strong point on this issue. Yes, it will affect young people. Yes, it will affect lots of occupations and people who have invested under these laws. The point that I would like to make is that, if government decides in the process to change the rules, you then have to address the fact that you have changed the rules and give the person you had the agreement with an option to opt out of the contract that you put in place with them in good faith.

What am I talking about? I'm saying that, because of the rules set before the Australian people over a number of governments, not just this one, where they have made changes, governments have to go out of their way to say, 'We've have made this change, we believe, for the long-term benefit of the nation's people as a whole.' However, if you are directly affected by these changes, government must allow people to opt out of the contract. In business, if you and I make an agreement about a loan fund in which you agree to loan me a certain amount of money on these terms, and it's contracted, we both enter into that loan agreement in good faith. If, halfway through, one or the other says, 'Look, I don't believe you're paying me enough for the money that I lent you, because times have changed, and I'd like to change the contract,' it is an obligation and it is law that the person challenging the current situation must offer the other the right to opt out.

So, whilst I agree that government can make any change they like on any issue they like—this government can legislate for anything, and they are doing so; whether you agree with it or you don't agree with it, they have the numbers on the floor of the House and they've only got to get through the Senate as well to make changes to any current rules before the Australian people. I'm just saying that, if you do that, there is an obligation on government to go back to the people who are directly affected by the change to say to them, 'If you don't like the arrangements that we have now changed on our watch, we are going to give you the opportunity to withdraw all of your super money out of super and take it to a place of your choice for your investment.' The Liberals and Nationals believe that people should be in control of their own money. They were in control of their own money when they entered into a fair agreement with the government of the day—and that's what they did. And now these changes will affect directly a number of people with super balances over a certain amount.

I can accept that and I can accept absolutely that the government elected by the people of Australia has the right to make a change. My argument is this: if you then enter into a changed situation, you must go back to the people that you have made the change for and say to them: 'Alright, we've made the change. If you don't want to continue to invest in this product that we're offering you, we offer you the opportunity to opt out.' Then you say, 'But that would have millions of dollars taken out of super and put into other investment arrangements.' Yes, it would, but it's an obligation of government to say: 'We've changed the rules. Nobody else changed the rules. We changed the rules by legislation in the last budget, and this is what we're doing with super. This is where we want to go.'

Now, I was criticised at the time—mostly by my own party—for being seen to support the government in their super changes. That's not exactly what I said, but it was taken that way at the time. I'm saying two things. One is that, during the election campaign, the now Prime Minister said, as opposition leader, 'I won't make any changes.' The current Treasurer, Mr Chalmers, said exactly the same thing: 'We do not envisage making any changes.' In the last budget, they did. That's my first point. My second point is: if you then make that change, be fair on the Australian people who are affected by that change and say, 'Because we've made the change, you can now withdraw the whole of your super and put it in another investment of your choice.' That is fair and reasonable.

Stay In Touch

Please contact my office with any issue or concerns you have. I am here to listen and represent you.
Contact Us
Russell Broadbent MP
Sign up here to receive the latest news from my inbox.