Budget surprises don’t win hearts and minds for good policy

Superannuation has rarely been more a part of public discourse, yet the nature of the political process is obscuring any real examination of the value of the changes being proposed.

While a number of the superannuation reforms are contentious and should be reconsidered or modified, many of the changes announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison in the May budget are positive and well overdue.

However, problems have arisen because the proposed measures arrived fully formed on budget night and took everyone by surprise. It is a quintessential case of good policy being undone by poor process.

“Confidential consultations prior to announcement would have shown the government the path to least resistance on these changes.”

While it is traditional for budgets to contain ‘elements of surprise’ the lack of consultation associated with the introduction of the superannuation reform measures created surprise and misunderstanding, even within the government.

Many of the measures announced on May 3 are sensible and the government deserves credit for seeking to address flaws within the superannuation system.

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