Senator challenges ISA chief economist

A senior Government senator has questioned whether Industry Super Australia (ISA) was acting consistently with member’s best interests by appearing before the Senate Economics Legislation Committee’s review of the Government’s Budget tax cuts legislation.

The chair of the committee, Victorian Liberal Senator Janet Hume, directly questioned the ISA’s chief economist, Dr Stephen Anthony, about the appropriateness of a superannuation-focused body funded by industry superannuation funds appearing before the committee.

She asked whether, given that the purpose of superannuation funds was to further the interests of members, it was appropriate for Anthony to be spending time addressing the Canberra-based committee by telephone from Melbourne.

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“How is using your time in this way in keeping with those objectives?” Hume asked.

Anthony responded that his role and function within ISA could be likened to that of a bank economist – “to be analytical and objective”.

In doing so, the ISA chief economist expressed the ISA’s opposition to the Government’s proposed tax cuts, suggesting that taken in combination the proposed personal and business tax cuts would, by the middle of next decade, remove any possibility of a surplus.

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