Daily Telegraph 03.06.21
In a case of better late than never, the superannuation regulator APRA has grown some teeth and will pursue two important issues I have raised.
They will both investigate the “New Daily” and how it has sucked $30 million from super savings and probe a data breach which is indefensible.
On the first point, it’s APRA’s job to ensure your super savings are not wasted.
$30 million in Superannuation Guarantee contributions have gone to the New Daily including a $4 million injection last December. For what?
From the outset, the New Daily admitted that Industry Super’s financing of the project would come with a ‘tilt’ towards ‘using industry super spokespeople’.
Read: we will use your retirement savings to fund a boondoggle which tells you how good we are.
The New Daily is beholden to its owners who keep pumping your cash into it to keep it afloat.
Last year Industry Super Holdings told Parliament the New Daily was a “valuable service to our shareholders”. It also said that “the New Daily is currently in a loss-making position, we do provide capital, but it is a long-term investment”.
I’ve been around business circles all my working life. This is not an investment, it's an expense.
APRA really needs to look closely at this.
I have brought to their attention on many occasions my concern about how New Daily spending can bypass duties of superannuation trustees - such as the sole purpose test and financial interests duties.
The New Daily promises their audience “clear and unbiased information”, and sees themselves as providing an “educative role”.
There is nothing “unbiased” about this news outlet. It does not have editorial independence - which means it’s ineligible for the media bargaining code. Every day it runs puffy positive stories for unions, industry super and the Labor Party.
How can it claim to be unbiased when it does a hatchet job on the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy Jane Hume.
We now know New Daily paid the costs of an out-of-court settlement with Minister Hume, retracting the article.
Are Australian workers being forced to pay the New Daily’s legal bills too? Do we have to cough up everytime they defame someone?
On the second issue, in the past few weeks, AustralianSuper has handed over the customer data of two million members to the propaganda website.
That is, the private information of super customers has been given away.
Having received the private information, the New Daily emailed AustralianSuper’s members to notify them that their subscription would be automatically activated within weeks.
In a tactic clearly designed to increase readership by two million people who have to opt out of the subscription rather than choose to have it.
This wilful and flagrant leaking of private information is an outrage we won’t cop.
I wrote to APRA immediately.
APRA has now agreed to investigate this case.
It must include the use and distribution of customer data by superannuation funds for extraneous purposes.
It is surely ridiculous to allow super funds to give away their data to a propaganda outfit.
Who gets the next round of data? Big tobacco, firearms dealers, casinos?
Super is supposed to be about retirement, not propaganda and politics.
Andrew Bragg is Liberal Senator for New South Wales