Anthony Albanese may have ruled out “major” changes to the country’s pension system before the last election, but his partner Jodie Haydon wrote a dossier outlining the five changes the government should make just three years before Labor came to power.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal that Ms Haydon took part in a campaign to reform the pension system in 2019 where she wrote an article calling for the federal government to make a slew of changes to super-rules to help women and people with low protect income.
The ‘First Lady’ of Australian politics worked in the industry for 20 years and has spoken in the past about learning the power of retirement ‘very quickly’ in Australians’ lives.
At the time the article was published, Ms. Haydon was working as a strategic partnership manager for First State Super – one of the country’s largest super funds.
The revelation of the dossier comes as Mr Albanese is accused of breaking a campaign promise after announcing his Labor government would double taxes on pension accounts of more than $3m.
Anthony Albanese may have ruled out “major” changes to the country’s pension system before the last election, but his partner Jodie Haydon wrote a dossier explaining five key adjustments the government would need to make
The couple started dating in late 2019 after bonding over a mutual love affair with the South Sydney Rabbitohs
In her article – written for the Public Service Association of NSW magazine – Ms Haydon called on Scott Morrison’s coalition government to review the supersystem.
Jodie Haydon’s super five-point plan
1. Additional $1,000 annual government grant for low-income earners
2. Remove delays to increase super warranty
3. Pay super guarantee on government paid parental leave
4. Remove the $450 monthly income threshold
5. Gender effect statement for changes in the pension income policy and the old age pension
Ms Haydon – a signatory to the Women in Super ‘Make Super Fair’ campaign – called for an additional $1,000 annual government contribution to the super accounts of low-income earners to ‘better support those with inadequate retirement savings’.
She also called for “no further delay in planned pension guarantee increases” and a commitment to “pay super-guarantee on government-paid parental leave.”
Ms Haydon also urged the government to remove the $450 monthly income threshold and also publish a gender impact statement for any changes to the age pension or retirement income policy.
The monthly income limit – the minimum amount an employee must earn before an employer has to pay super – has been lifted as of July 1, 2022.
Now an employer has to pay pension on all income.
The ‘First Lady’ of Australian politics worked in the industry for 20 years and has spoken freely in the past about learning ‘very quickly from the power of retirement’ in Australians’ lives
A closer look at the Make Super Fair campaign also reveals it is in line with Mr Albanese’s latest decision to double the super-contribution tax rate from 15 per cent to 30 per cent for the wealthiest 0.5 per cent of Australians
A mission statement from the campaign said models determined that the additional contributions Ms. Haydon proposed would cost about $2.7 billion a year and would specifically target low-income people.
“Most of (the target group) are women and need government support to gain economic security after retirement,” the campaign said.
“It is estimated that the government spends $30 billion annually on super tax breaks, and the majority of the current super tax breaks are paid to high-income earners, who do not need government assistance to have a comfortable retirement.”
Ms Haydon was particularly passionate in the article about the inequality women face in the labor market and into retirement.
She noted that the super-gap between men and women was 42 percent at the time — more recently it has fallen to about 28 percent — adding that 40 percent of retired women live in poverty or experience economic insecurity.
“The pension guarantee system is based on a 20th century male worker and changes to recognize the modern workforce will improve outcomes for women,” she wrote.
“First State Super recognizes that affirmative action is necessary to get the system right,” she said at the time.
Pictured: Ms Haydon with Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron
Ms Haydon left the superindustry in early 2022 when she became the female officer for the NSW Public Service Association.
But it seems that her retirement time has left a deep impression on her from the very beginning of her career in the industry.
“It was a member services position and I will never forget it,” she said in May 2022. “I felt very young then to deal with such serious member issues.
“People called me and announced that they had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness, ‘how do I access my super?'”
“People called in financial distress: ‘I lost my job, can I access my super?'”
“People called and said, ‘I had an accident at work, I can’t work, can I access my super?'” People called and said my ‘partner died, how do I claim their super?’
“So one day you were very aware of how traumatic some people’s lives and their circumstances were, and I never expected to find that insight in the financial services industry.”
Mr Albanese’s decision to double the favorable tax rate for high net worth super clients sparked a public outcry that he had broken an election promise.
Albanese has been criticized by the opposition for telling a Sky News reporter during the election campaign that he would not interfere with pension savings if Labor were elected.
“We’ve said we’re not going to make super changes,” he said.
Mr Albanese has faced some backlash over the policy amid allegations he ‘broken an election promise’
Mr Albanese stressed that the favorable 15 per cent tax rate would continue to apply to the 99.5 per cent of Australians with less than $3 million in retirement savings, and would only come into effect from 1 July 2025.
The 80,000 Australians who will pay more tax on their super were particularly wealthy, Albanese said.
“It’s hard to argue that those levels have to do with actual retirement income, which is what retirement is for,” he said.
The Prime Minister pointed to figures showing 17 Australians had more than $100 million in their retirement savings accounts – including one mystery person who had more than $400 million in super.
Despite the controversy, the policy has also garnered significant support, with many pointing to the small number of people actually affected by the changes.
Daily Mail Australia approached the Prime Minister’s office for comment.