Peter Costello, in one of his last public appearances before retiring from Parliament, has sought to defend his record on the superannuation system. He says that scrapping taxes on super payouts and overhauling contributions taxes were as significant as the introduction of compulsory superannuation.

However he admitted that he regretted introducing, nearly a decade ago, the now defunct super surcharge. The surcharge (which he always denied was a tax) was levied on the super funds of high income earners and sought to introduce equality into the super system but imposed too much regulation.

”I regretted it ever after – the complexity of the system was just awful,” Mr Costello told a Super Ratings conference in Melbourne.

Mr Costello was speaking at the Super Ratings conference in Melbourne