The federal Liberal Party's woeful record on superannuation made some aspects of Tuesday night's budget particularly surprising.
This, let's not forget, is a coalition government where:
- some MPs actively oppose planned increases to the compulsory superannuation rate;
- some ideologically oppose compulsory super full stop;
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he will reconsider an increase due in July depending on the state of the economy; and
- people in hardship due to coronavirus were allowed to dip into (strip, in many cases) super savings at a time when the government was throwing out masses of stimulus payments and could surely have found another way to help those people.
The fourth of those points has a suspicious whiff of ideology about it, and the same might be said of the third.
Super is not perfect, but the fact of the matter is that if we did not have a maturing super system underpinned by compulsory contributions, millions of Australians would be headed for far worse retirement outcomes.
The argument that it's their money and they should be free to use it as they see fit is a tempting one, but the reality is most would not have saved the sorts of sums they were able to accrue through compulsory superannuation.
Reality beats ideological vandalism.
In that context, it was a very pleasant surprise to learn the government planned to force poorly performing super funds to stop taking new members if they did not improve.
Further, the government will have super funds "move" with workers changing jobs, cutting down on the ludicrous reality of people in their 30s and 40s having a string of super accounts being chewed into by fees.
Crucially, people will be able to shift funds if they choose.
The economic crisis and the threat it poses for younger Australians means it is more important than ever to get super right.