22 January 2021

Newly-minted Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume has wasted no time in revealing the Morrison Government’s retirement income strategy: cut your super, freeze the pension, and if you run out of money sell your house. 
This not only represents an assault on Australians’ dignity in retirement but a broken election commitment.
In a bizzare opinion piece in today’s Australian Financial Review the Minister – who once said she was “ambivalent” about the Government’s election commitment to maintain legislated super payments – now argues legislated super payments could be cut and retirees could always sell their house if they run out of money.
The Coalition that ran a campaign against a non-existent death tax is now proposing a very real pre-death tax on retiree home-owners.
The Minister says that too many Australians are “eventually dying with most of their savings intact.”
This is, in the Minister’s own words, a “paradox.”
Her op-ed confirms she has now been charged with ensuring Australian workers die penniless.
This is the same Minister who falsely accused Labor of having a secret death tax policy at the last election.
Minister Hume may be misguided, but she is not misinformed.
She says an “extraordinary number” of retirees have reached out to her with “heart-breaking stories of hardship” because their savings have been inadequate to see them through the COVID crisis.
She says she gets the “anxiety about paying for future health and aged care costs.”
She acknowledges the “anxiety” of retirees for whom “it’s not possible to live adequately off returns from retirement savings alone.”
However, the Morrison Government’s only solution is to slash workers savings and cut funding to hospitals and aged care homes.
For five years now the Coalition has promised and failed to deliver a Retirement Income Covenant that would ensure workers best financial interests are put first in their retirement.
It is now clear a decent retirement income for all Australians is not on the agenda of this Government.