Huge blow to Labor’s radical plan to reshape Australia’s superannuation system – as the Greens launch a scathing attack on retirement savings plan
The Greens are now threatening to block Labor’s plan to double taxes on ultra-rich Australians with more than $3million in retirement savings unless super is added to paid parental leave.
Larissa Waters, the leader of the Greens in the Senate, on Friday announced her party would vote with the Coalition to block the federal government’s plan to raise $2.3billion a year by increasing taxes on 80,000 Australians, or the top 0.5 per cent of superannuation savers.
‘This is such a timid proposed change to the tax concessions the obscenely wealthy receive,’ she said.
‘If Labor is not going to improve it, the least they can do is put it to good use.’
Treasurer Jim Chalmers in February announced that should Labor win the next election, those with more than $3million in super would pay a concessional tax rate of 30 per cent for contributions instead of the usual 15 per cent rate from July 1, 2025.
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With the Opposition against the idea, Labor needs the support of the Greens along with centre-left crossbenchers Jacqui Lambie and David Pocock to get that legislation through the Senate.
The Greens have 11 senators and are threatening to vote down Labor’s plan to increase super taxes unless it is legislated to have superannuation added to paid parental leave.
Senator Waters, who speaks for women on behalf of the Greens, argued this would only cost $200million a year.
‘We will use our balance of power in the Senate to get outcomes for women and young families who are struggling with the cost of living crisis,’ she said.
‘We know Australian women are retiring with significantly less superannuation savings than men.’
Australian Taxation Office data for 2020-21 showed men aged 60 to 64 had a median super balance of $211,996 compared with $158,806 for women of the same age group.
That means women typically have 25 per cent less in retirement savings than men.
‘While we wait for the government to come up with a campaign plan, the gender superannuation gap continues to grow, and a comfortable retirement feels more out of reach for more women and young people,’ Senator Waters said.
The Greens based their $200million proposal cost on modelling from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, which was released in March ahead of the election Budget.
ASFA also recommends a single Australian, getting the age pension at 67, needs $595,000 to have a comfortable retirement – a level which the Grattan Institute, Super Consumers Australia and Barefoot Investor author Scott Pape say is too high.
Primary carers of a newborn are already entitled to 20 weeks paid parental leave but that is rising to 26 weeks from July 2026.
The entitlement is climbing to 22 weeks in July 2024 and 24 weeks in July 2025.
The Greens have already threatened to block Labor’s $10billion Housing Australia Future Fund to build 30,000 homes over five years.
Max Chandler-Mather, the housing spokesman for the Greens, has argued the plan is based on gambling money on the government’s Future Fund and instead wants $2.5billion a year specifically set aside to build social housing and a two-year rent freeze.
Should Labor’s housing and super polices be rejected twice, in the Senate, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese would have the trigger to call a double-dissolution election.
This would see all MPs have to campaign for re-election, not just members of the House of Representatives and half the Senate as occurs with a usual general election.
The Greens at the May 2022 election, for the first time, won the lower house seats of Brisbane, Griffith and Ryan, covering wealthy inner-city suburbs that are all home to a large number of university student renters.