Industry super funds pay unions more than $50m over 10 years

The Daily Telegraph

23 April 2017

ANNIKA SMETHURST, National political editor, News Corp Australia Network

AUSTRALIA’S biggest industry super funds have handed more than $50 million to Labor-aligned unions in the past decade, new figures reveal.

A long-term analysis of election funding data obtained by The Sunday Telegraph ­reveals six industry super funds — First Super, TWU Super, HOSTplus, Cbus, LUCRF and Australian Super — have all paid more than $5 million each to unions since 2006.

The payments have angered the Turnbull government, which argues that people ­deserve to know “where their nest egg is being spent”.

There are roughly five million Australians with industry super funds, but only 15 per cent of workers belong to a union.

Last year Cbus, the Construction and Building Unions Superannuation fund, made the largest contribution with more than $1 million in payments to ALP entities.

HOSTplus, the industry superannuation fund representing hospitality workers, has handed over more than $6 million to unions in the past decade, including more than $900,000 in 2015-16.

The nation’s biggest industry super fund, Australian Super, paid more than $600,000 to unions last year.

But Industry Super Australia (ISA) said the transactions were all commercial payments which can include advertising costs, interest on investments, dividends and director fees.

ISA chief David Whiteley said funds complied with disclosure laws and outperformed bank-owned funds.