Daily News Roundup

January 10, 2019

Image: ABC News

Thursday, January 9

A Productivity Commission report says Australians could be more than $500,000 richer in retirement under the biggest-ever proposed shake-up of the compulsory superannuation system.

The report has found the current system is “harming millions of members” with underperforming funds, multiple accounts and excessive fees.

Super funds that underachieve over the long term would be booted from the industry under the Commonwealth agency’s proposal.

New workers would also be steered towards the industry’s top performers, with an independent panel creating a ‘best in show’ shortlist of 10 funds to choose from.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he believed there was merit to this idea ‚Äúthat we can ensure that the better performing funds are taken up by more members”.

“Because what the report did find is that right now it is a lottery for members as to the quality of the funds.”

Even a worker aged 55 would be better off by nearly $80,000 if every recommendation was adopted.

The major report also found:

Multiple accounts and underperforming accounts cost Australians nearly $4 billion each year.

About one-third of all accounts are unneeded because the person already has a primary super fund.

Most of those with underperforming super accounts are in the retail sector that operates for-profit.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor remained concerned about the ‘best in show’ recommendation, suggesting it could impact competition.

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The charade that has become US politics went one step further today when President Donald Trump walked out of a meeting with Democrat leaders which was set up to try and find a solution to the standoff that has forced a partial government shutdown.

The cause of the impasse is an election promise by Mr Trump to build a wall along the border with Mexico.

Mr Trump says Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “no” when he asked her if Democrats would approve funding for a barrier, within a month, if he agreed to end the government shutdown.

The meeting was a “total waste of time,” he said on Twitter.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer accused the President of having a temper tantrum during the meeting.

“He asked [House] Speaker Pelosi, ‘Will you agree to my wall?’ she said no,” Mr Schumer said.

“And he just got up and said, ‘Then we have nothing to discuss,’ and he just walked out.

“Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get his way.”

Vice-President Mike Pence said Democrats were “unwilling to even negotiate” with Republicans.

“The President walked into the room and passed out candy,” he said.

“I don’t recall him ever raising his voice or slamming his hand.”

Mr Trump reportedly handed out “a mix” of sweets, including Butterfingers, a chocolate bar with a peanut butter core

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A Victorian man has been charged after dozens of suspicious packages were sent to consulates and embassies in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.

Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested the 48-year-old man at his home in Shepparton in northern Victoria last night.

He has been charged with sending dangerous articles to be carried by a postal service.

Investigators will allege in court that the man sent 38 parcels containing a substance that they believe was “sourced from his Shepparton home”, to consulates and embassies in the three cities.

Police said they had recovered 29 of the packages and planned to have them forensically tested.

Victoria Police said on Wednesday that “a number” of consulate offices had received suspicious packages.

The US, Pakistani, New Zealand and Swiss consulates confirmed to the ABC they had received suspicious parcels in the mail.

Emergency services workers were also seen going into the Greek, French, Italian, Spanish and South Korean consulates.

“There is no ongoing threat to the general public,” both police forces said in a joint statement.

“Police have identified all intended recipients and have put processes in place to recover the outstanding packages.

“The assistance of [Australia Post] has been crucial to the outcome of this investigation.”

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