It’s my great pleasure as a strong Liberal woman to rise and speak in this MPI debate on retirement income, following a wonderful Minister for Women and soon to be followed by the member by Boothby, another wonderful Liberal woman in this parliament. There’s one way to keep Liberal women in the parliament, and that’s to vote Liberal at the next federal election. So I call on all my constituents in Corangamite to vote Liberal at the next federal election, for a strong Liberal woman.
It is quite ironic that the member for Hotham, for whom I have a lot of respect personally, didn’t mention the member for Lindsay in her contribution. And where is the member for Canberra? Have we heard from the member for Canberra about what she has endured over her terrible preselection loss? She has been absolutely savaged, kicked out. It is absolutely appalling what we are seeing—and such great hypocrisy. But the most hypocritical part of this whole debate is the $10.7 billion tax slug, which hurts women more than men, because of Labor’s retiree tax. That is $10.7 billion, hitting some pensioners and self-funded retirees. Do you know how much this is impacting Australians around this nation? Almost 900,000 Australians will be worse off as a result of this terrible, terrible policy. Women are impacted around 30 per cent more than men. If Labor cared about women in retirement they would reverse this dreadful policy, which is the most inequitable policy for women, hitting those who earn the least, who rely on this for their futures—both women and men who rely on these franking credits for their savings. This has been absolutely ripped away by the Labor party, and they know it—$10.7 billion. It is savage, and it is a disgrace.
We as a government are incredibly proud of our achievements for women. Look what we are doing. Looming at 17 per cent under Labor, the gender pay gap now has been reduced to 14.5 per cent. We’ve got more work to go, but this is a record low. Economic security for women is clearly a critical priority for us, and more than one million jobs have been created since the government’s election in 2013, the majority of which have been taken up by women. Women are now employed at record levels. The other very significant change we have introduced is our childcare changes, which are encouraging greater workforce participation for both women and men who are parents by improving access to child care by investing an additional $2.5 billion in childcare assistance. And of course we have a real proud record of introducing tangible measures to help women save for their retirement, including the low-income superannuation tax offset, which benefits around 1.9 million women by over $500 million, levelling the playing field by scrapping restrictions on who can make personal deductible contributions, and of course the catch-up concessional contributions, which will benefit 230,000 Australians, including women who have interrupted work patterns or irregular income, including cohorts such as farmers and carers. Shame on Labor for opposing those measures.
The government has, very proudly, introduced a comprehensive Protecting Your Super package, which will stop the rorts and rip-offs in the superannuation sector, providing significant benefits for the financial security of millions of Australian women. And I say, shame on Labor for opposing this package.
Ms Claydon: That’s all you’ve got to say—’shame’.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hogan): The member for Newcastle is warned.
Ms HENDERSON: Yes, shame—and it is shameful. It is shameful that the package has been opposed by Labor, leaving many thousands of women worse off. We’ve heard from the Minister for Women how important this is, and I would urge those opposite to pass this package in this Senate.
19 September 2018