THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
ABC NEWS BREAKFAST
WEDNESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor's plan to boost women's superannuation savings; News Limited and the media; Ken Wyatt.
MICHAEL ROWLAND, PRESENTER: Let's go to federal politics now and Labor has this morning unveiled plans to improve superannuation for women saying that too many are retiring in abject poverty. For more the Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek joins us now from Canberra. Tanya Plibersek, good morning to you.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning.
ROWLAND: Firstly, how wide is the gender gap when it comes to superannuation?
PLIBERSEK: Women on average retire with more than $100,000 less than blokes, it's about a 40 per cent gap in superannuation. It's particularly concerning, we know that older women are the fastest growing group of people moving into homelessness. Poverty in old age is completely unacceptable and we need to make sure that we reduce this gap in superannuation as one of the steps towards making sure that men and women retire with dignity.
ROWLAND: What are you committing a future Labor government to doing in this area?
PLIBERSEK: Well there's two main measures that we're talking about today. The first is paying superannuation when someone's on parental leave, so maternity leave or dad and partner pay. We know that one of the big reasons that women retire with less superannuation than men is because they're taking time out of the workforce to care for their families. The second measure is another really important one which is, at the moment if you earn less than $450 a month you don't get paid superannuation and what we know is that more and more people are making up one income from lots of small jobs, part-time or casual jobs so they're missing out in superannuation in each of those jobs. We want to make sure that we remove that $450 limit over time, over the next few years we'll phase it out so that whatever job you're working, even if it's a few hours a week, you'll end up getting superannuation on that job. We're also going to make it easier for employers to make voluntary contributions to women's super if they want to do that and we'll make sure that when we make changes to superannuation we consider the gender impact of those changes.
ROWLAND: Okay, how many Australians have obviously, particularly how many Australian women would be eligible for this?
PLIBERSEK: Well the superannuation on paid parental leave is over 200,000 people a year and the $450 cap again will, over time, benefit hundreds of thousands of people. It is a very substantial investment, it's about $409 million cost to the Commonwealth Government over the first four years but we believe that the difference this will make in retirement incomes is worth it. So a woman who's got, say has two kids, I mean these are all very average figures of course because it depends on what you earn, how long you take off work and so on. But say on average a woman who has two children will be about $24,000 better off in her retirement, if you have three kids you're talking about more than $30,000 better off in your retirement because of these measures.
ROWLAND: Okay, so the $409 million, that's been fully costed?
PLIBERSEK: Oh yes, absolutely. Yep.
ROWLAND: Okay and how long a period do you expect this policy to be drawn into over? Is it two years, four years? Longer than that?
PLIBERSEK: Yes, the $450 cap will be phasing down, it will be fully implemented in the fifth year. We're phasing it down to give employers time to get used to the change and of course we'll be aiming to start these changes in the first year, after the first Labor budget if we are elected.
ROWLAND: To another story, as you'd be aware the ABC's Political Editor Andrew Probyn has revealed the role Rupert Murdoch played in toppling Malcolm Turnbull. Does that comes as any surprise to you given Rupert Murdoch and NewsCorp campaigned vigorously against the Rudd and Gillard Government five years ago?
PLIBERSEK: I don't think it would come as any surprise to any who's ever picked up a News Limited newspaper in recent years. I think it's very clear that News Limited has become a campaigning organisation both for the Liberal Party and within the Liberal party in this instance.
ROWLAND: Do you agree with your colleague the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has described Rupert Murdoch, in his words as a "cancer on Australian democracy"?
PLIBERSEK: I'm not particularly into name calling when it comes to individuals but what I would say is that it is absolutely critical that we have an independent media in this country and that means, obviously, supporting the ABC, but it also means that Australians should read widely. There's plenty of great new websites out there, new publications that people should take a look at. Certainly, where you've got a situation, I think it's seven out of ten newspapers that are sold in Australia are sold by News Limited, I don't think that sort of media concentration is healthy for our democracy.
ROWLAND: Well, picking up on that, would a future Labor government have another look at media ownership, media regulation in Australia?
PLIBERSEK: I'm not going to commit to anything like that today but I can tell you that a future Labor government will always be a big supporter of the ABC.
ROWLAND: Now to another story before you leave Tanya Plibersek has the Labor Party tried to get Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt to defect to your ranks?
PLIBERSEK: No, not to my knowledge.
ROWLAND: The Financial Review is reporting secret talks involving your colleague Linda Burney have been underway for some time to encourage this WA Liberal Minister to cross the floor forever.
PLIBERSEK: Well, not to my knowledge. I think there's obviously cross the aisle friendships that happen. I think that our, we've got Linda Burney, Pat Dodson, Malarndirri McCarthy, we've got strong Indigenous representation. I'm sure that out Indigenous MP's are supportive of Ken's role in the Liberal Party but what you're putting to me is something I've got no knowledge of.
ROWLAND: Okay, we'll leave it there. Tanya Plibersek, Deputy Labor Leader, thank you for joining us on News Breakfast.
PLIBERSEK: No worries, see you.