Superannuation funds won’t get to remove one of the experts from a review of retirement incomes after Scott Morrison backed her to stay.
Industry Super Australia wants the government to reconsider the appointment of Deborah Ralston to the inquiry, because she has previously lobbied for “voluntary” super for low-income earners.
Labor shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers also described Professor Ralston as a “prominent, dedicated and well-known campaigner against the Labor Party”.
But the Prime Minister insists she will stay on the inquiry.
“Some suggestion that we could only have people doing this review that the union industry fund bosses actually agree with is quite absurd,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
“What sort of country do we live in that the union funds are saying ‘well we’ll pick and choose who does the reviews on how much money flows into our funds’?
“She has great experience in this area and we welcome her participation in the review.”
Professor Ralston wrote to the Treasurer in July to propose the inquiry consider allowing low-income earners to receive super in wages, arguing increasing contributions to 12 per cent would force them to forgo too much money.
Her letter was sent on behalf of the Alliance for a Fairer Retirement System.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Professor Ralston would bring great expertise to the inquiry and had the government’s full support.
“Any time ideas are raised that goes against their vested interests they seem to complain very loudly about it,” he told Sky News.
“They should just make a submission like everyone else to this inquiry and stop lecturing the government as to who we should appoint to these panels.”
Professor Ralston declined to comment.
Industry Super Australia also wants the inquiry to look at underperformance, which has most significantly affected retail funds.
Dr Chalmers said Labor will keep fighting to ensure superannuation contributions rise to 12 per cent.
“Labor doesn’t intend to take the compulsory out of compulsory super,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
“The only party who wants to mess with superannuation and wants to take the compulsory out of super is the Liberal Party.
“They pretend they don’t want to do that, but then appoint a panel of this nature that shows their true hand and colours.”
Under the terms of reference, the review will consider the interaction between the age pension, compulsory superannuation and voluntary savings, including home ownership.
The review will conclude in June 2020.