HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 15 MARCH 2021
I'm the current member for Fenner and the former member for Fraser, unlike Daniel Mulino, who is the current member for Fraser. It's a matter which sometimes causes confusion in this place. Confusion is also clearly present in the minds of those listening to Liberals taking credit for a banking royal commission that they voted against 26 times.
The coalition speakers on this bill have all cast votes against a banking royal commission. The current Prime Minister called it a 'reckless populist whinge'. At least Malcolm Turnbull had the honour to stand up and say that he was wrong in opposing a banking royal commission. I haven't heard that from the current Prime Minister. The delays in the banking royal commission caused excessive pain for the victims of misconduct in the financial sector, and no-one now thinks that the banking royal commission was a mistake.
Yet now we have the coalition attempting to go against the number one recommendation of the banking royal commission, which was that responsible lending laws not be watered down. We've seen the House Economics Committee delay hearings with the major banks. The committee put the hearings off for almost six months when the pandemic hit, a time when the banks were deserving of increased scrutiny. Now we have this ridiculous motion on IFM, which has been assisting the House of Representatives Economics Committee since 2019. IFM appeared on two occasions over 12 months, and its parent company, Industry Super Holdings, has appeared once. IFM answered almost 100 questions for the committee in writing and responded to many more during its appearances. That, of course, comes at a cost to IFM. The cost of complying isn't paid by Liberal members; it is paid by the Australian mums and dads who have their money in investments held by IFM. That's an administration cost. The party that rails against red tape has ended up imposing an administrative burden on superannuants.
There are many asset managers out there—BlackRock, Perpetual, JP Morgan, AllianceBernstein, First Sentier, Pendal, Credit Suisse—but the committee hasn't called any of those. Why not? Because they're not part of industry super. What we have here is a motion which symbolises the Liberals' continued culture war against industry super, a system set up not only by unions but by unions working with employers. If there's one thing those opposite hate more than unions, it's unions working collaboratively with business. That's what industry super is. Industry super has managed to achieve much better returns than its retail counterpart because of one simple fact: it's not paying a profit. All of the returns are going back to members. IFM has worked with the committee, despite the fact that the Hayne royal commission made no findings against IFM and did not call on it to appear. IFM's chair, Greg Combet, was appointed by the Prime Minister to the government's National COVID-19 Commission. IFM meets all of its regulatory requirements. As has been repeatedly explained to the committee, if IFM were to provide commercially sensitive information, which its competitors are not required to do, it would be placed at a competitive disadvantage. The losers from that wouldn't be the staff of IFM. The losers would be the people whose money is being invested by IFM.
This is not about the royal commission. This is about a petty, vindictive, ideological campaign by the Liberal members of the House of Representatives Economics Committee against industry superannuation.
I'm not sure they have thought through what the impact would be if they were to go to their friends in the private sector—if they were to go to some of the commercial funds managers that I've mentioned—and ask them for the sorts of commercial-in-confidence information.
I close on the member for Goldstein's continued campaign for Australians to have to choose between owning a home and retiring with dignity. He has been attacked most recently by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said:
"Diverting even more savings into housing is simply just going to bid up the price of housing … I mean, that is, honestly … the worst possible argument."
The former Prime Minister has said:
"Politicians and public servants have a compulsory 15.4 per cent super contribution …
… isn't it … somewhat patronising … to say that working people … should … settle for nine and a half?"
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.