A Liberal senator has mounted an incendiary attack on superannuation, accusing the federal opposition of being communists in thrall to the “Big Brother” of industry funds.
A bitter war of words broke out in the upper house on Thursday when Liberals agitating for major retirement savings reforms locked horns with Labor.
In a wide-ranging spray, Queensland LNP senator Gerard Rennick invoked American revolutionary Patrick Henry’s “give me liberty or give me death” declaration.
He said the revolutionary spirit continued in the fight against Marxism and communism.
“Many of those forces sit opposite us today,” he told senators.
“All with their little red books, bobbling their heads to every command issued by their Big Brother – industry super funds, run by unions.”
Senator Rennick said Labor believed in repression of free will and the complete destruction of everything that makes Australia great.
He criticised $40 billion in superannuation management fees and a similar amount in tax concessions.
“Most of these fees go to white-collar blowhards in Sydney and Melbourne. Every week rivers of gold flow out of regional communities.”
Senator Rennick hinted at a High Court challenge of whether super was constitutional if it didn’t return the initial capital.
He questioned if the system breached the same section of the constitution used in the classic Australian movie The Castle relating to the acquisition of property “on just terms”.
He also branded The New Daily a “communist propaganda tool used to peddle Marxist ideology”.
Labor senator Tim Ayres described sitting through the speech as an out-of-body experience.
“When you listen to a sort of stream-of-consciousness word salad about little red books, big brother, bankers, Marxists, command and control – it feels like I’m sort of at a QAnon cell meeting,” he told Parliament.
“Not the Australian Senate, not where the adults engage in this stuff.”
It isn’t the first time Senator Rennick has used colourful language to state his case.
In June, he invoked The Wizard of Oz while arguing that children staying at home with a parent is preferable to them attending any sort of childcare.
“Dorothy didn’t tap her shoes together and say there’s no place like childcare. She said there’s no place like home,” he said.
Tensions ran high when Senator Ayres rebuffed claims industry super would become the biggest political donor in Australia.
He compared the $25,000 in total contributions to Clive Palmer’s massive spend at the last election and Senator Rennick’s donation to the LNP “immediately prior to his preselection”.
“That is a personal slur that indicated corruption and I totally reject that. I want that remark withdrawn now,” Senator Rennick angrily replied.
Senator Ayres refused to withdraw, saying the imputation against Senator Rennick existed only in the heads of Liberal senators.
The New Daily is owned by Industry Super Holdings