Hey Labor, hands off our superannuation savings


The Albanese Government wants to channel Australia’s superannuation savings into social and affordable housing to relieve the nation’s chronic housing shortage:

The federal government is seeking to entice the superannuation sector to invest in social and affordable housing as part of its plan to tackle a ballooning supply shortage.

Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones held a round table with peak industry group Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) this week in a bid to secure their investment…

“There are many areas where the government can partner with the super funds to advance the national interest,” Mr Jones said…

“Supercharging our economy with Australian workers’ own savings is smart.

‘Smart governments look for all available options to solve these [economic] problems. Engaging with our super funds is one way we can work together to do that.”

Labor came under fire last month for calling on superannuation funds to increase their exposure to ‘nation-building’ projects.

Former senior Treasury official Mike Callaghan argued that super funds should only invest in such projects if doing so is in the best financial interests of their members.


In a similar vein, Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor and Brendan Coates from the Grattan Institute argued that the primary purpose of superannuation is to provide for Australians in retirement. Therefore, they should only invest in assets that will provide a sound return.

The key problem is that the primary purpose of superannuation has yet to be defined, despite compulsory superannuation being around since 1992.

The former Coalition government introduced a bill that tried to define the core purpose of superannuation as follows:


“To provide income in retirement to substitute or supplement the Age Pension”.

Unfortunately, this bill never passed.

Accordingly, Australia’s compulsory superannuation system has been left at the whims of politicians seeking to use it as a tool to satisfy their own political agendas.

Australia’s superannuation savings should be managed above all else to maximise risk-adjusted returns and should be available if and when required by members.


The Albanese Government must recognise that Australia’s superannuation savings belongs to its members. It is their money, not Labor’s play money.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.