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Tuesday, 25 March 1997
Page: 2354

Senator LUNDY(1.35 p.m.) —This is getting to the point of being absolutely ridiculous. It is quite clear that this government and the minister cannot explain why they have chosen to exclude complying funds from this particular bill. There is no reason they can provide, other than a political decision that obviously Senator Kemp has not been privy to the justification of. Or if he has, he is not saying.

I put to you, Minister, that there is absolutely no justification upon which you can base this decision. That there are 140,000 complying funds is the only argument you have put up at this point in time as a reason why they should not be included in that definition. If that is the best you can do, then I am afraid it is certainly not going to be enough to convince anybody listening to this debate of the merits of your government's decision to oppose our amendment. Unless you can do better than the fact `Golly, there might be 140,000 that could potentially want to set up RSAs,' then I do not think you have any basis on which to oppose this amendment.

The second point I would like to make relates to the application of this bill. Going back to the point I made earlier about your rhetoric about improving choice, I am not convinced that these RSAs are going to improve choice at all. They are certainly not going to improve benefit for the clients of such accounts. But going back to that point, you are, as I said before, directly contradicting yourself. The best reason you have come up with so far is that there are 140,000 complying funds that could potentially offer RSAs.

Senator Conroy —Choose to offer RSAs.

Senator LUNDY —They could chose to—thank you, Senator Conroy. They could in fact choose to offer RSAs. Unless you get this contradiction sorted out, or unless you put on the table what the government's motivation is for excluding complying funds quite specifically, quite obviously against the advice contained in this leaked cabinet submission that Senator Sherry is referring to, you have no basis on which to oppose this amendment.