The proposal to permit couples to have joint superannuation accounts has emerged again as part of the tax reform debate. While it might suit some couples, has society moved beyond such a proposal?
The golden point outcome in the NRL grand final led to debate about whether the game should return to the old days of having grand final replays during the following week. Most pundits were quickly able to refer to such an approach being anachronistic given the much greater geographic & socio-economic diversity of the game and its stakeholders today.
Uneven superannuation accounts between members of a couple is largely an outcome of gender pay gaps and the inability to have a meaningful paid parental leave scheme.
As Australian businesses are finally starting to build momentum with their focus on diversity in the workplace and in boardrooms, government policy including on superannuation reform should support this. For example, ideas like permitting additional "catch-up" super contributions would be more effective in addressing the inequity in superannuation balances of women and promote their active contributions to the Australian economy, while business deals with gender pay gaps and parental leave issues, the latter with support from government.
The proposal for joint accounts was worthy of further examination, but should be considered a "side issue" to structural changes that could make a more meaningful difference to the gender gap in retirement outcomes, such as tax reform or addressing the gender pay gap.