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Tuesday, 25 March 1997
Page: 2363

Senator SHERRY —My question is to the Assistant Treasurer. Minister, can you confirm that, without the necessary amendments to section 58 of the SI(S) Act to correct the new set of problems that you have created and that I referred to in my previous question, the government will not be able to collect revenue from many superannuation funds containing a substantial number of employees earning more than $70,000 a year? As a result, you could lose up to half the revenue that you have projected of $1.5 billion?

Senator KEMP —Senator, what happens to the bills ultimately will depend on the votes in this chamber.

Senator Bob Collins —Excuse me?

Senator KEMP —On the votes in this chamber. What happens—

Senator Bob Collins —Doesn't the government have a say?

Senator KEMP —That is what I am saying to you. The ultimate outturn with these bills will depend on what in fact happens with the votes in this chamber. We are confident that the bills as announced will ensure a fair and equitable outcome.

Senator Robert Ray —We have to correct all your mistakes.

Senator KEMP —Just contain yourself, Senator Ray. What finally goes through this chamber will depend on the votes of the senators. But we are confident, with the arguments which will be canvassed in this chamber, that these bills will be seen to be fair and equitable.

Senator SHERRY —Madam President, I ask a supplementary question. The problem is that the bills as tabled on 13 February keep having to be changed because of mistakes and errors that the government has made. You have had to include additional bills to exempt federal judges, you forgot to include federal government employees, you had to rewrite the constitutionality of the bill so you could avoid it being challenged and now you have major problems collecting half your revenue. This is a shambles. Assure the Senate that there are no more major problems with this legislation.

Senator KEMP —The shambles is on your side. We are quite confident with the revenue projections we made. We are confident. The shambles is on your side because of utter confusion that you have. You allegedly support the 15 per cent surcharge. Your leader says he will put the bills through. You are all over the place. We are still seeking the Labor Party amendments and, boy, are they being well hidden! They would not be the ASFA amendments by any chance, would they?

Would you not think that in the interests of proper debate the Labor Party after all this time would be prepared to put forward the amendments they are proposing, but they are still being hidden. Do you know why? Because as soon as you put them forward, they will be full of holes. Senator Sherry is trying to hide the compliance costs that they are trying to put on small business.