Originally published in The Canberra Times on July 18, 2014

The Liberals will tell you that they don’t like telling people how to live their lives. Indeed they regularly tell us that individuals, not governments, are best placed to make decisions about what is in their own best interest. But, like successive ALP and Coalition governments, Tony Abbott and his team are big fans for forcing each and every working Australian to spend at least 9.25 per cent of their income buying financial products.

 Last year, Australians spent more than $93 billion buying financial products from the Australian superannuation industry. And last week we learned that even the former head of the Commonwealth Bank can’t understand why Australians pay the highest prices in the world for financial services. Here’s a tip, maybe it’s because we force people to buy a complicated product that even experts struggle to explain clearly. And maybe it’s made worse by the fact that most Australians think that ”financial advisers” can’t be trusted to give them impartial advice.

 Australians are being robbed blind by the financial sector. Last year we paid more than $20 billion in fees and charges for superannuation alone.  We spent an extra $5 billion on financial advice. That is about 10 times what the Australian government spent on mental health.

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