Barnaby Joyce says Aussies should be allowed to access their super early

Outrage at plan to stop Aussie accessing their super early – as one MP calls for a new even more radical plan

The Coalition has hit out at the government’s proposed changes to superannuation that would make it more difficult for Australians to access their retirement savings early.

Nationals MP and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said Australians should have the right to access their own money earlier if they needed to.

‘We believe superannuation is your money, coming from your endeavours, your labour, your work,’ Mr Joyce said. ‘The $3.3 trillion we now have in super, the Labor Party believes it’s their money, that it is their superannuation fund’ 

Jim Chalmers will on Monday release a consultation paper on the proposal to legislate an objective for superannuation.

Legislating an objective for superannuation would mean future governments would struggle to introduce policies that allow Australians to dip into their super earlier.

In releasing the paper, Dr Chalmers said it would make ‘super stronger’, noting the sole purpose of superannuation was to give Australians a comfortable retirement.

In a speech to the financial services sector, he will say the previous government’s decision to allow Australians to withdraw about $36bn of their retirement savings early during the Covid-19 pandemic had been damaging.

But Mr Joyce said the previous government – in which he served as deputy prime minister for a time – wanted to give people access to ‘their money’.


‘They want to buy their own house, a lot of people want their own business … Superannuation is a great program, but I don’t think you should rule out letting people have access to their own money,’ he told Sunrise.

His panel mate, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, said the government wanted Australians to have ‘that more comfortable retirement’.

‘The previous government allowed Australians to take $36bn out of their superannuation accounts during Covid and some of that, of course, was necessary,’ she said.

‘We know that if you put a few thousand dollars in super during your working age you will see the magic of compound interest. You will be getting tens of thousands of dollars when you retire. We want Australians to have that more comfortable retirement.

‘You’ve always been able to access your super in an emergency, but a lot of that was actually money just taken out and spent in the short term – that means they will be poorer in the long term.’



Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie said she had spent 20 years ‘fighting government departments, nearly making myself bankrupt’, and had she not been able to access her super at the time, she would have lost her house.

‘It is not as black and white as (what Jim Chalmers is saying). My kids and I would have been left homeless, let’s have a chat about that,’ she told Nine.

‘I thought we already knew out there that this is for your retirement, but there are things that happen in our lives where that money may come in handy … just to keep us afloat.

‘And especially in the next two years if we are going into recession, if there are guys out there who can dig in to make sure we keep the roof over their head to continue to pay their house rates, we have to be a bit more flexible than that when we are going through tough times.’

Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan told Sky News it wasn’t Dr Chalmers’ money but Australian people’s money.

‘What Jim Chalmers isn’t saying is that your super will always be taxed a higher rate under Labor, there will be less transparency about what happens to your super under Labor,’ he said.

‘If you need it to be able to buy your first home, then you should be able to access your super, and we have a good, sensible policy that allows young people to be able to do that.’