One of the most brazen examples of minority interests skewing our public policy debate is the co-ordinated control of capital and political power by trade unions, hiding behind the brand of industry superannuation.
Industry Super Australia is one of the largest and most well-resourced lobbying outfits in Australia, employing over 20 staff, at least two of whom are full-time Canberra-based lobbyists, under the auspice of advocacy on a single topic – superannuation.
The industry superannuation funds spend over $32 million of consumers’ retirement savings each year on advertising. Their political lobbyists, Industry Super Australia, alone spend $7 million each year.
There is no doubt that industry funds, as a collective, are strong performers on the investment front. But they betray people’s trust when they funnel members’ retirement savings into political campaigns run by opaque structures.
People join mutual organisations like trade unions and industry super funds so profits are returned to them, not to fund extreme campaigns, like the CFMEU’s, against the rule of law.
Co-ordination and groupings