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Keating slaps down push to dump super rise

Paul Keating has lashed out at Liberal MPs agitating to scrap a rise in the superannuation guarantee, likening the backbench push to climate change denial.

The former Labor prime minister has defended plans to lift the employer contribution from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent, dismissing claims it could stymie already sluggish wage growth.

"It's demonstrably false because nobody since 2014 has had any increase in super, there's been no 2.5 per cent, yet wages have not increased at all," he told ABC's 7.30 program on Tuesday night.

A rump of Liberal MPs have called for the government to dump the legislated rise, but the federal government said it has no plans to change course.

"It's like climate deniers. We've got a bunch of people in the Liberal Party who have always hated superannuation. They are superannuation deniers," Mr Keating said.

"Someone said yesterday, pithily, they are like anti-vaxxers, they are against vaccine."

The Keating government introduced the superannuation guarantee in 1992.

Mr Keating also rejected claims by the Grattan Institute thinktank and some coalition MPs that the increase would hit wages as "the great lie".

"If this is refused, essentially what a Liberal Government would be doing is pilfering, stealing, robbing the workforce of 2.5 per cent of income," he said.

The former prime minister also criticised the tax policies Labor took to the May federal election under Bill Shorten, saying the party had failed to understand the middle-class economy created during the Hawke-Keating years.

"So much of Labor party's policies were devoted to the bottom end of the workforce and the community, paid for by cuts in tax expenditures," he said.

"If the cuts in tax expenditures had of been employed in reducing tax rates, then it would have been a big tax reform and I believe a much more successful outcome."

Meanwhile, former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello has warned the trade war between the US and China could hit retirement savings as financial markets react to global uncertainty.

"Australian retirees have lost money," he told The Australian on Wednesday.

"Superannuation funds have lost money. If this were to continue, this will affect Australian savings and ultimately will affect the budget."

Some $80 billion has been wiped from the value of Australian shares in the last two trading days on the back of US-China trade concerns.

© AAP 2019