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Tony Abbott could never be trusted with your superannuation

In a 2013 election pitch Tony Abbott promised there will be no ”negative unexpected changes” to the superannuation system. His government’s plan to pause the rise in superannuation contributions at 9.5 per cent until 2021 joins a very long list of broken promises.

Many may have been surprised at his back-flip on something as sacrosanct as superannuation. Long-term observers, however, were not.

What we have learned about Tony Abbott is that whenever he makes an announcement about any issue – anything – there is a wealth of contradictions from the same mouth that we can easily source. It’s a pity that not too many people search for them. The biggest culprits, of course, are alleged journalists from our mainstream media or those gullible enough to believe what they or Tony Abbott have to say.

Which brings me back to Tony Abbott and superannuation. What we keep hearing today, or yesterday, or last year, is at odds with what he mutters when not under the public spotlight.

It only seemed like yesterday that as Leader of the Opposition – and as defender of the affluent – Tony Abbott was enraged over the then Treasurer Wayne Swan’s announcement that super pension and annuity earnings greater than $100,000 would be taxed at 15 per cent, instead of being tax free (a move that would affect an estimated 16,000 people). Striding up to the nearest microphone he promised he:

. . . would “fight ferociously” changes that would play havoc with people’s retirement plans.

That would have been admirable, of course, if it weren’t for this:

Mr Abbott repeatedly refused to guarantee to wind back the government’s proposed changes, saying only that the Coalition would not make matters worse.

”We aren’t going to do any more damage,” he said.

That comment certainly made his threat to fight ferociously appear rather shallow.

Nonetheless, his opposition to the move had been most vociferous. You may recall seeing it headlined – nay, bashed to death – in the Murdoch media. Here’s an example:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has taken his “hands-off superannuation” message directly to those most worried by reported government changes – older Australians.

He rammed home the message to retirees on Sydney’s northern beaches on Tuesday that superannuation “piggy banks” were not government money but people’s money.

Raiding their piggy banks to fund the government’s “out-of-control” spending was a breach of faith and a betrayal of trust, he told the grey heads at the Dee Why RSL club.

He continued his attack via the LNP website:

The Prime Minister should end the class war and the latest escalation on the class war is the Prime Minister and the Treasurer’s coming attack on your superannuation. I want to say to the Australian people – your superannuation is safe under the Coalition. Your superannuation should be sacrosanct. There is no way that your superannuation should be raided by a bad government to get itself out of a hole. The Government should not be damaging your future to secure its future. The Government should not be raiding your money to get money for itself. It is a sign of just how debauched this Government has got that when it is in a hole, a hole of its own making, it should be seeking to trash your superannuation – trash, in fact, Labor’s historic legacy – to try to fix up a problem which it has caused.

But to Mr Abbott it was more than just a fiddle with people’s retirement plans – of which he was the now self-appointed defender – it was also a cash-grab from the Government:

“On balance, this is a $1 billion hit on people’s retirement savings,” he told the media in Melbourne.

“It is a $1 billion hit on savings that belong to the people, not the Government, and it shows that this is a government which is prepared to tax the people to fund its own spending.”

And it would only get worse, he warned:

If they get away with attacking the so-called rich today, they’re going to come for you tomorrow. That’s the truth about this government. If they get away with this, they’ll think they can get away with anything.

The man must have been an emotional wreck; all that caring, all those concerns. Well, yes, he certainly had put on a sad face. He bled for those poor people raking in over $100,000 a year. The whole 16,000 of them.

Now let’s have a look at what Tony Abbott really thinks about superannuation, especially the superannuation of the battler.

It’s a con job, he once said, while elsewhere savaging it as nothing but a gravy train for union officials. He even opposed an increase in the Super Guarantee – changes that would have seen 8.4 million Australians receive an increase in their retirement incomes. In effect, he opposed:

  • An additional $108,000 in the retirement income of a 30-year-old on average weekly earnings.
  • An additional $78,000 in superannuation for a women aged 30 on average weekly earnings, who had had an interrupted work pattern.
  • Australians who were over 50 and have low super balances, the opportunity to contribute up to $50,000 a year into superannuation at a concessional tax rate.

That ‘policy’ of Abbott’s confirmed his apathy towards superannuation. Here it was in a nutshell:

Opposition leader Tony Abbott confirmed plans to axe a super tax break worth up to $500 a year for 3.6 million low-income earners.

And significantly:

. . . his plan to axe the $500 superannuation benefit for low-income workers will hit more than two million women, including 11,000 female voters in Tony Abbott’s own electorate.

It’s safe to say that in total, more people in his electorate would have been effected by this measure than the number of people effected Australia wide by the previous government’s plan. In total, it would have tightened the financial thumbscrews on 3.6 million Australians.

Now he has tightened the screws on everyone.

To me, this latest move to pause the rise in superannuation contributions is not a nasty surprise. It’s just nasty. Not surprising.

Tony Abbott could never be trusted with your super. He’s been telling us that for years.

Superannuation is just another issue on which he was willing to say anything to the contrary to anybody in order to become prime minister. Follow the trail of deception and it will lead you straight to Tony Abbott.

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  1. Roswell

    Personally, I don’t trust him with anything.

  2. Kath Malcom

    Yep the Minister for women in fine form as usual, destroying everything he can that might actually benefit women….

  3. James Harris

    On one hand, this is wrong. Making people have less at retirement is, well, wrong. Like most things, Tone Death Tony only cares about those earning equal or more than himself.

    On another hand, I think Super and Pensions does need to be looked at on a larger scope. Sure, it provides wealth, but couldn’t things be better if there was a national pension scheme, like Super, but everyone gets a good sized pension out of it instead?

    Something which the government dumped a lump sum at the start (Maybe 5 years of the current Senior pension budget) and everyone contributes their 9% to 12% (This can be changed at anytime). Then very person who is over the retirement age gets, idk, $50k a year(Nice amount), not taxed. The $50k amount is indexed with inflation.

    The constant pumping of money from employees, as well as investments, would keep the fund viable. Government injections in yearly intervals could also be looked at, but just to cover a gap (if it occurs) of funding as opposed to full funding.

    IDK, just a thought bubble, but a better one than most 😛

    PS: Transfer the current Super Funds into National Pension Scheme, raise the pensions today, and make society better off.

  4. Truth Seeker

    Migs, yes indeed 😉 and although many have been surprised by the mendacious Abbott, the truth is nobody should be, as the rule of thumb when listening to an Abbott promise fest, is to Listen carefully to his words, and then expect the exact opposite! 😯

    And if you can’t stomach listening to all the BS, then just expect the worst, and you’ll be fairly close to the mark without wasting more time that you’ll never get back! 😛

    Love your work mate 😀

    Cheers 🙂

  5. Kaye Lee

    This, like so many other things the Coalition has done, shows they truly have no idea (or more likely don’t care) about the future. They say the old age pension will become unaffordable. They want us to take responsibility for our own retirement. So what do they do? They cut superannuation to the very people likely to end up on the old age pension whilst protecting concessions for those who were never going to qualify for a pension of any description.

    The proposed tax on high earning superannuees would not have even been noticed by these 16,000 wealthy people who have millions in investments. For example, a retiree who drew $120,000 in one year would only pay $3000 in tax (15% of the excess above $100,000). A net income of $117,000pa is a pretty tidy sum considering these people probably own their own home and likely have other investment income. When they contributed the money into the fund they saved 30% in income tax (top marginal rate 45% – 15% tax on contributions).

    When I spoke to one of Hockey’s advisers about this he told me the superannuation companies told them it would be too hard to administer. I pointed out that they may have a vested interest in saying that and that it could be easily administered by the ATO by filling in a tax return. The adviser told me that “tax wasn’t his area of expertise”. I felt like asking what his area of expertise was beside advertising.

  6. Carol Taylor

    From Michael’s article,

    If they get away with attacking the so-called rich today, they’re going to come for you tomorrow..

    Let’s make Abbott’s prediction a reality..let’s come for him tomorrow. 👿

  7. Carol Taylor

    Kaye Lee and,

    The adviser told me that “tax wasn’t his area of expertise”. I felt like asking what his area of expertise was beside advertising.

    Gosh I’m amazed (not) that Hockey’s staff/an adviser is clueless about the issue of taxation…

  8. stephentardrew

    Classic Libertarianism of Ron and Rand Paul taken on by Abbott and Hockey with lashings of magical mythological irrationality imbued with self-aggrandized elitism and deception. There is absolutely no hope of making sense of these rather childish retards. By retard I mean their thinking is backdated to the first century AD. Superannuation is just money patiently waiting to be handed over to the deserving oligarchs. No more no less. There is a visceral dislike of anyone but their cadre of ideological purists receiving any sort or assistance. They think we need a society of heartless, mindless automatons hell bent on the accumulation of wealth at any necessary cost to low paid workers, the underprivileged, the poor, and the environment. How the hell can we expect rational thinking from scientifically illiterate, psychologically and sociologically retarded ideologically driven ignoramuses.

    Like any form of social good and future planning they will drive super into the dirt if given half a chance.

    I think the true nature of these oligarchic ideologues has been shinning through and they are trying to cover it with rabid patriotism and pseudo warrior mentality whereby they make sure they never actually have to go to war. Funny how the loudest proponents of war are the most protected from service.

    I think these ideologues are actually turning out to be worse than we on the left had imagined and it has taken time for people to realize what they are really dealing with. Could our leaders really be this bad? Well yes!

    The LNP have serious psychological problems driven by a case of self-delusion and compulsive lying. Abbot believes his lies are justified by the messianic fervor of a Christian theocrat.

    Please Australia stop looking with your eyes wide shut.

  9. Vicki

    If they get in again in 2016 I predict more downgrading/abolition of the super guarantee . We will then be forced to work (at the moment until age 70 but who knows – it could be until death) into quite old age with a nonviable income at the end of it all. What a life these people envision for the less wealthy.

    Back in the late 1800s there was a lot of discussion in the British parliament re the (free and compulsory) education of the masses to enhance their usefulness in the factories and to keep the offspring of the rabble off the streets. An argument from one politician against the whole idea of education for this underclass was that it would be best to keep them (the lower classes) ‘in the state of ignorance for which nature intended them’. Not much has changed with this born to rule mob. They govern for the upper middle classes and the rest of us can go to hell. C’est la vie.

    ps would love to find that quote again. Any ideas anyone?

  10. Peter Stanton

    There is a word for the practice of expecting honesty from any member of the Abbott government ‘anthropomorphism’.

  11. Carol Taylor

    Here’s the scenario: Abbott and Hockey berate pensioners for not having saved adequately for their retirement (80% of retirees are dependent on a pension or part-pension), they call it “a budget emergency”, then promptly set about trying to rectify this problem by raising the retirement age to 70. It’s a necessity they wail. They further set about *helping* people save for their retirement (lessening the budget emergency)….. by…..ensuring that almost everyone has even less to retire on – thereby guaranteeing that the “budget emergency” where people have insufficient to retire on and therefore become welfare dependent, is made WORSE.

    And it’s not just a teeny bit worse, the very people Hockey berates for not saving adequately for their retirement, example, a 45 year old on $90,000 will be losing $20,614.

    Yes indeed, the Abbott government is going to rectify a problem by making it an even bigger problem…

  12. stephentardrew

    John I had to overcome my visceral dislike just to drag my faltering, resistant had towards the mouse and click on the unspeakable image of Dear Leader.

    The rewards?

    Well confirmation of complete raving madness and idiocy.

  13. Kaye Lee

    I don’t think they actually understand superannuation. Clive, Joe and his sidekick Cormann, have all tried to convince us that we will have more in our pockets now rather than it being locked away in super….yeah…right. I can see a flurry of employers voluntarily saying here, let me increase your wages to compensate you. And Joe has already said he intends increasing the age at which you can access your superannuation (in line with the increase to the pension age). All this while we get rid of the financial advice protection laws.

  14. John Fraser



    Its what Australians voted for.

    Ok ok ….. i'm lying about that.


  15. stephentardrew

    Carol such observations mean I have to resist tearing the thinning hair I have left out.

  16. Möbius Ecko

    Carol. A political commentator stated on TV that problem is way down the track, a long time after Abbott, Hockey and co. have left politics when they are living high on the hog at our and the people they’ve screwed expense. In other words it will be someone else’s problem, not Hockey’s, whose sole aim is by hook or by crook to get a budget surplus to brag with in the belief that will win the Liberals the next election and cement him as a great Treasurer. The evidence of that was yesterday when he compared himself to Costello on praising him as a great Treasurer saying he fills Costello’s shoes, but then quickly correcting himself when he realised he’d yet again demonstrated his arrogance and vainglory.

  17. Kath Malcom

    Smokin joe has an ego that dosnt fit his smarts, his ego is bigger than it’s pea brain 🙂

  18. stephengb2014

    Kaye Lee
    can you help here
    surely a government that repeatedly lies and damages the future of the country in this way is a reason for the public to petition Queen Elizabeth the first of Australia to disolve this parliament.

  19. Kath Malcom

    Thanks John that short clip is the real Tony, he should win the idiot of the year award this year, you got to question how he was parented, very badly by the looks, his parents would be ashamed cos you couldn’t be proud of that lying inhumane wanker , some mothers and fathers do have em, and the abbotts should be disturbed because they failed on the parenting front as far as I can see 🙂 but then again his old man was a German sympathiser, tones gets a lot of his policies from the old Nazi Party, if you look closely there is a swatz sticker on the arse of his budgie smugglers 🙂

  20. Kaye Lee

    There are some powers which the Governor-General may, in certain circumstances, exercise without – or contrary to – ministerial advice. These are known as the reserve powers. While the reserve powers are not codified as such, they are generally agreed to at least include:
    1.The power to appoint a Prime Minister if an election has resulted in a ‘hung parliament’;
    2.The power to dismiss a Prime Minister where he or she has lost the confidence of the Parliament;
    3.The power to dismiss a Prime Minister or Minister when he or she is acting unlawfully; and
    4.The power to refuse to dissolve the House of Representatives despite a request from the Prime Minister.

    In addition, the Governor-General has a supervisory role to see that the processes of the Federal Executive Council are conducted lawfully and regularly.

  21. stephentardrew

    Seems like the GG is asleep on the job.

  22. All's Not Lost

    I don’t get the point being made about the GG’s reserve powers. In what sense are they relevant?

  23. Kaye Lee

    it was in response to stephengb2014’s question – not anything I think likely to happen though I could think of a few unlawful things like locking up asylum seekers and the laundering and distribution of donations from prohibited parties

  24. All's Not Lost

    Ah, thanks. I missed that post. You’re right about the unlikelihood. None of those powers are relevant to the current situation, as awful as it may be. It’s more fun when the population dismisses a govt anyhow. That’s gonna happen, right?

  25. Kaye Lee

    What would be REALLY good would be for Tony Abbott to lose his seat. Howard’s was one dismissal I drank a champagne to.

    Rid us of this knave who benights our fair land. Scourge of my heart, my country. Begone foul stench that we may breathe again the sweet air of rationality.

  26. Florence nee Fedup

    I seem to recall back in the dark ages, when Keating introduced our super schemes we have today. There was great outcry against unions and works having access to the pools of money, the scheme would put under their control.

    Many on the right, believe this would give unions to much power.

    Even today the same people are fighting to have unions removed from any super scheme. One only has to listen to the number of times super raised in the present RC into unions, initiated by Abbott. Nearly every session has begun by some whistle blower complaining they have to join union schemes.

    What is amazing about this, union connected schemes are the most productive and have the cheapest cost structure.

    Compulsory unionism, to some, give the worker too much power. It is not a accident, that Abbott has attacked it.

  27. Florence nee Fedup

    Back in olden days, there was I believe a pension levy that everyone paid. This money was later diverted into general revenue.

  28. Kaye Makovec

    Michael Taylor could have saved himself a lot of time and effort with just one line “Tony Abbott could never be trusted”

    John Fraser, thank you I needed that 🙂 I love a good belly laugh first thing in the morning.

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