But the debate over their infamous handiwork goes on.

Karen Chester in her Productivity Commission report recommends that before the Superannuation Guarantee finally rises to 12 per cent, another formal inquiry into superannuation be undertaken.

Chester has already spent three years in investigation to produce the current report. And now, after three years, she says another major inquiry is needed to consider taking the Superannuation Guarantee to 12 per cent.

How pathetic is this as a policy recommendation?

A fall, not a rise

It is no news to anyone that the Treasury never supported the advent of compulsory superannuation.

It was delivered by political and industrial entrepreneurship. And only by political and industrial entrepreneurship.

Chester is simply another attenuated bit of the policy inertia that jams superannuation below the level needed to provide an adequate income replacement in retirement.

More than that, Chester overlooked or blithely disregarded Michael Rice’s 2018 paperThe Age Pension in the 21st Century.

In this report, Rice demonstrates how effectively superannuation works in reducing the national call on the age pension.

He notes that the Intergenerational Report projected the age pension would rise from 2.7 per cent of GDP to 4.6 per cent of GDP over a 40-year period.

In his comprehensive report – because of higher super balances and a tighter means test – Rice estimates the cost of the age pension will now fall from 2.7 per cent of GDP in 2017 to 2.5 per cent in 2038.

A fall, not a rise. And a fall from a projected 4.6 per cent of GDP to 2.5 per cent by 2038.

How could you miss that? Perhaps Chester gets around in tinted glasses.

Paul Keating is a former prime minister of Australia.

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