Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation Bill Shorten has issued an impassioned defence of Labor’s wealth creation record – trumpeting its super initiatives and claiming that only Labor can fix Australia’s retirement time bomb.
Making this year’s annual ‘Light on the Hill’ address in Bathurst, which honours Labor legend Ben Chifley, Shorten likened the prospect of Labor giving up now to the thought of keeping the superannuation guarantee at 3%.
Praising the Hawke-Keating-Kelty settlement, Shorten claimed that average household incomes have risen from less than $50,000 in 1986 to nearly $140,000 in 2012.
“In fact Australia’s standard of living has climbed spectacularly over the past generations – sixfold within four generations,” he said.
“The proportion of us in unions, oh yes, went down quite a bit. Now, there is a school of thought that all this – particularly the drop in union numbers – means the Labor Party is no longer necessary.
“The naysayers, the vested interests, the conservative media, cry out that the work of Labor is done; that unions are no longer relevant; that working people have nothing to worry about; that we have done our great things; that our operations should be wound up.
“But this is like saying superannuation should have stayed at 3% – not moved to 12%.”
Hinting at the issues surrounding Australia’s superannuation shortfall, estimated to be as much as $1tr by the Financial Services Council, Shorten went on to issue the following challenge to the “naysayers”:
“Who will act on new complications in an ageing workforce? With Baby Boomers rolling into retirement at a rate faster than new working taxpayers are being minted.
“Who indeed but our Labor movement.”
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