National Seniors call for politicians’ super to be cut, and a boost to pensioner incomes


The government is facing internal pressure to abandon or restrict future planned increases in the superannuation guarantee while it is also conducting a review of the retirement income system.

National Seniors said federal politicians, who have a superannuation contribution of 15.4 per cent, should be forced to deal with a retirement income in line with that of the general population.

It noted that a backbench MP on a base salary of $211,250 would receive almost $100,000 in superannuation contributions through a three year term. A senator would have almost $200,000 injected into their superannuation over their six year term.

“At a time when politicians are calling for spending restraint and for further delays in increasing the superannuation guarantee to 12 per cent, it would be symbolic if politicians moved to align their own entitlements with the current guarantee,” it said.

“It raises fundamental questions about fairness.”

The organisation argues that while the retirement incomes of politicians should be reduced, the incomes of ordinary retirees should be lifted.

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It wants to reduce the taper rate, which reduces the age pension for people depending on the value of their assets. The taper rate was lifted by then-treasurer Scott Morrison more than two years ago.

The organisation argues the current $3 taper rate means someone with $800,000 in assets is receiving less income than someone with $400,000 in assets.

It is also pushing for the government to overhaul the deeming rate – the rate of return assumed on the financial assets held by part-pensioners and used to determine their fortnightly payments – system. Rather than the deeming rate being set by a minister, it wants an independent tribunal to oversee the process.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last week signalled older Australians would need extra training to help them stay in the jobs market.

National Seniors is advocating a mature aged worker program that would target older people who want to gain employment in the burgeoning aged care sector.

The program would meet the costs of assessing suitable candidates, provide training and help match potential workers with employment opportunities.

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