The Turnbull Government’s superannuation mess has deepened with Scott Morrison flagging further changes to the superannuation reforms announced in the last Budget and labelled “iron clad” by the Prime Minister just weeks ago.
And the Treasurer has broken the Government’s promise to fast-track legislation for the start of Parliament, finally admitting it won’t be ready.
The Prime Minister and Treasurer have repeatedly claimed that the changes taken to the election would not change and would be presented to Parliament as they were outlined in the Budget.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, your superannuation policy has led to some ructions within the Party and within the traditional Liberal voter base. Can you foresee any circumstance in which the policy as detailed in the May 3 budget will change following the election? Is it ironclad?
PRIME MINISTER: It is absolutely ironclad. Yes, the commitment that we have made in the budget are our policy. If we are returned we’ll implement those policies. I believe they are fair. 5AA – 3 June 2016
JOURNALIST: Do you concede that some changes will need to be made to superannuation reforms you announced in the budget given what Arthur Sinodinos said yesterday and unrest on the backbench?
SCOTT MORRISON: No.
JOURNALIST: No changes at all?
SCOTT MORRISON: No, we don’t believe so, these are the right changes for Australia, they’re the right changes for Australia because what they are doing is making our superannuation system sustainable. – Press Conference, June 2, 2016.
But before the legislation has even been drafted, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison look set to cave to their party room, with the Treasurer touring the country to ask angry backbenchers what it will take to stop them crossing the floor.
SCOTT MORRISON: "We're consulting heavily. That's one of the reasons I'm here in town today," – 5AA Radio, August 18, 2016.
Who is actually running this government? It's clearly not the Prime Minister or the out-of-his-depth Treasurer.
Just weeks ago the Government claimed to be fast-tracking its superannuation legislation in order to have it ready by the time Parliament sits on 30 August.
The Treasurer now admits the legislation will not be ready for some weeks – demonstrating just how much wheedling he still has to do to get his own party to support it.
Labor has consistently said that we would work with the Government to achieve superannuation reforms that are fair and sustainable. That is why we have called for an independent review of the Government’s super reform package.
Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison and Minister-in-name-only Kelly O’Dwyer need to put the interests of Australians and our world class superannuation system ahead of internal Liberal party divisions.
Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Small Business and Financial Services.