Former prime minister Paul Keating has urged the government to enforce a national insurance scheme to better assist Australians later in life.
The 74-year-old, who served as the Labor Party leader from 1991 to 1996, said the current system for retirees is not supporting those who reach their 80s and 90s, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Keating explained seniors should not have to rely on their superannuation to cover healthcare, accomodation and other living expenses.
“We have no policy here in Australia for the 80 to 100 cohort,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports he said. “I don’t believe that it should be left to superannuation.
“I think it should be a national insurance scheme. Only the commonwealth can insure across generations.”
In a bid to better support the elderly, who may outlive their superannuation, Keating said there should be a type of insurance product available to assist those who may struggle financially later in life.
“This is where I think in a real national family, the government puts their arm around them, the community puts their arm around them, and carries them through the rest of their life,” he reportedly said.
His comments follow those of Bill Shorten, who last month vowed to inject $400 million into a scheme to narrow the gap between retirement savings for men and women if he is elected into power at the next general election.
The Labor leader pledged to address the unbalance between superannuation for men and women, saying the current system is not fair to women.
According to the latest figures from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (AFSA), women had almost half the amount of superannuation as their male counterparts, between the ages of 55 and 59, as they approached retirement, with women racking up just $123,642 in super savings while men had put away $237,022.
Shorten’s scheme would deliver a top-up payment for those on parental leave, which is one of the main factors that causes women to fall behind men when it comes to super. It is estimated that, if implemented in July 2020, it would affect around 167,000 recipients of the Commonwealth paid parental leave scheme and another 80,000 who are on the Dad and Partner payments scheme.