Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has lashed out at Baby Boomers, saying they’d never put up with low wages. Picture: Nikki Short
Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has lashed out at Baby Boomers, saying they’d never put up with low wages. Picture: Nikki Short

Keating says Boomers ‘want everything’

Former prime minister Paul Keating has ripped into the greed of Baby Boomers complaining that his own generation would never put up with the low wages, HECS debts and calls to raid their own super accounts for cash in the COVID-19 economy that faces Australia's younger workers.

Mr Keating has warned that low income, younger workers have been asked to raid their super accounts to the tune of nearly $40 billion which is around the same amount the Morrison Government has spent to date on massive stimulus measures such as JobKeeper.

Accusing "baby-faced Liberals" of campaigning against an increase to superannuation for younger workers, Mr Keating has also warned Gen X will never have enough money to retire on if the planned increase to super is delayed.

Mr Keating has warned in a briefing today organised by Industry Super that the legislated pay rise has already been factored into wage negotiations and must not be scrapped.

"You cannot have a decent income in retirement without self provision. Otherwise, you would have people on the pension which is now what $23,000 or $540 a week?,'' he said.

"Take my generation, the Baby Boomers. They want everything yesterday and they want it doubled now. If there was no super they wouldn't be wanting $23,000 they would be wanting $50,000 now.

"You look at these young people, I mean a lot of them are on low wages, they carry the HECS charge around their neck before they start, they have trouble accommodating themselves

"We are saying, 'Oh, by the way you can look after the rest of us aged people.' It's just fanciful nonsense."

Former prime minister Paul Keating said the expectations put upon young people was ‘fanciful nonsense’. Picture: Nikki Short
Former prime minister Paul Keating said the expectations put upon young people was ‘fanciful nonsense’. Picture: Nikki Short


Superannuation has emerged as a hot issue in the coronavirus economy with workers allowed to raid up to $20,000 from their super accounts and nearly 600,000 younger workers wiping out their retirement savings.

Now, there are also calls to delay the superannuation guarantee, which is guaranteed to lift workers wages by 2.5 per cent by 2025 but only if it goes into super.

News.com.au exclusively revealed last week that a secret Treasury report has warned workers face years of lower wages if the legislated increase to superannuation proceeds citing the "trade off" between wages and super.

The superannuation guarantee paid by employers is legislated to rise from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent over the next five years but now some Liberal MPs are calling for the increase to be frozen or scrapped.

Mr Keating said if workers failed to save enough super now more will be forced to survive off the aged pension.

"Well. The thing is there's no economic case for it not to go ahead. None. There's a prejudicial case from some of these baby-faced Liberals,'' he said.

"These first term senators, a particular modest form of political life."

Mr Keating said there had been no real wage increase since 2013 and productivity increases since then had not flown through to pay rises, particularly for younger workers.

For younger workers and Gen X workers born between 1965 and 1980, Mr Keating said the super increase was vital because they will live longer.

"Look, the thing is this. Anyone born in the 1970s, and I've got children born in the 1970s, will live now until 105 or 110,'' he said.

"In other words if they save for 40 years from say 25 to 65, they will be relying on the savings for a further 40 years. This cannot happen with a pool of funds of 9.5 per cent it's not large enough to do that.

"The argument for 12 is a very basic argument for adequacy. If we've got people living longer, what case is there possibly to not have 12 per cent?"

Mr Keating said he took the Prime Minister at his word that he has "no plans" to scrap the super increase but warned the Liberal Party has never supported super.

"The Liberal Party has never liked mandatory superannuation. They've had to be dragged screaming,'' he said.

Former Labor frontbencher and ACTU secretary Greg Combet said the business of allowing workers to raid their super accounts of nearly $40 billion has been a disaster.

"It's been a free for all,'' he said.

"That money has gone into the banks. That to me is all wrong," he said.

"I just think it's critical that on December 31 the early access scheme is terminated."