Bert’s Blog – ACT Election Forum and Matthews

8 May 2019

download 2019 05 07T232146.818 To the Hon Andrew Leigh, MP ALP Member for   Fenner, I wrote this letter:

 In your response to my question at the ACT   Community Election Forum on Friday 3 May, you   made mention of the Matthews Report of 2008.

 One of the more insidiously egregious statements   Matthews made in that report was that military   superannuation was ‘generous’.

Given that you agreed broadly with my contention about the unfairness of some aspects of military superannuation indexation, I was surprised (nay horrified, as you saw) that you even mentioned this odious and now thoroughly discredited Report, ‘engineered’ by Rudd’s government.

As you know, Matthews was engaged by Lindsay Tanner, and he did his put up job for Labor well.

Far from being ‘generous’, military super has failed to to maintain the purchasing power of these prescribed benefit pensions in the manner intended by the Parliament, and properly expected as a matter of an ethical and just “Fair Go”. Indeed, the only generosity in these schemes was the generosity of contributors in allowing their preserved contributions to be indexed by the Commonwealth at usurious rates, to the Commonwealth’s benefit.

Furthermore, the Commonwealth, as the ‘employer’ of these prescribed benefit servants of the Crown, failed to make any concurrent employer contributions to their super funds, thus further denying the members the potential benefits of proper returns from their investments. All that was far from ‘generous’.

[This behaviour by other employers is presently under severe public criticism, and perhaps ComSuper and the ATO should demand that the superannuation guarantee must apply also to the Commonwealth. (“Employers pocketing $6 billion of workers’ super each year, say industry funds.” Peter Ryan, ABC News, 4 May 2019)]

Matthews was cited by both Labor and Coalition governments to support their ongoing refusal to properly index our superannuation, at least until 2014. Abbott then finally recognised the failure of CPI indexation alone to maintain purchasing power. Unfortunately, he fixed it only for DFRDB one of the now-closed schemes.

I was taken aback, therefore, to hear you repeat that name Matthews again. It really is high time for both sides of politics to recognise and act to correct the continuing discrimination against some military superannuants, and confine the Matthews Report permanently to the dust bin of discredited reports.

I would be very pleased to hear from you that Labor, at least, has now done so.

Bert Hoebee