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Thursday, 7 May 1987
Page: 2810

Dr WATSON —I remind the Treasurer that he has announced by Press releases major superannuation legislation which has not been introduced into or passed by this Parliament. While the operative dates of some pieces of legislation are as recent as January 1987, others will date as far back as 16 December 1985. How are the trustees of superannuation funds expected to fulfil their duties and comply with the laws without knowing what those laws are?

Mr KEATING —It has been very much a standard technique of governments-this Government and previous governments-to foreshadow changes to the taxation laws and superannuation laws and then legislate them. This Government has done that but it has also done it in the context of the most major taxation reform in our history. The massive legislative program and work load upon the parliamentary counsel, apart from those in the policy areas of the bureaucracy, has been quite enormous. As far as the superannuation industry is concerned, we, unlike the previous Government, meet regularly with all the financial groups, including the superannuation industry. I have recently established a superannuation industry advisory council, along with an office for supervision of superannuation generally as a result of the national wage case. We have kept the industry apprised of both the Government's intentions in relation to announcements which have been formally made and its indications for the continuing development of the superannuation laws, including the supervisory structures. I do not think that anyone in the industry who has bothered to interest himself in the issue is at a loss to understand where the Government stands, and that the fact that the Bills have not passed the Parliament--

Mr Howard —Is this another Westminster tradition?

Mr KEATING —The Liberal Government brought in statements and introduced Bills-mostly after members opposite were dragged to do it, of course, dragged by public opinion-but even after it was dragged to do so it announced the measures and then followed them up with legislation. But the fact of the matter is that the Government will be bringing in the legislation as quickly as possible. No one in the industry has been disadvantaged. But in the meantime, standing on the record books is fringe benefit taxation, capital gains tax, a foreign tax credit system, substantiation, abolition of entertainment allowances, and a decent tax system, which members opposite ran away from for 30 years.