Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, has announced that the Government is pursuing changes to superannuation legislation to grant victims of serious crimes access to perpetrators’ superannuation.
In a doorstop interview outside Parliament House yesterday, O’Dwyer said that the Turnbull Government would be making the necessary legislative changes to ensure such access.
Joined by two child exploitation victims’ advocates, O’Dwyer drew on an example of a “very prolific case” in which “a convicted paedophile who has very significant assets in his superannuation account” had “taunted” victims by saying they would not be able to access compensation as his assets were safe in his super.
“For too long those people who have perpetrated these horrific crimes have been able to hide behind a shield whereby they would not give access to their superannuation assets to their victims because of the laws that are currently in place,” the Minister said.
“This denies those victims access to compensation that they in ordinary circumstances would be able to have. And we don’t think it’s right.”
O’Dwyer was optimistic that the public would agree with the reforms, saying that most people would agree that “just because assets are held in a superannuation account should not mean that … victims should not gain access to it”.
“I think most fair minded people would see these changes as long overdue and a recognition that individuals who have been impacted by these horrific sorts of crimes should be able to get proper access to compensation,” she argued.
Later in the same interview, she spoke of how the Turnbull Government would protect the public’s superannuation in light of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s proposed changes to franking credit refunds.
“We know how hard people work to save for their retirement and we know the sacrifices that they make. They are entitled to bear the fruits of their labours.”
She did not address how this approach would sit alongside the aforementioned legislative changes for access to convicted criminals’ super.