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Wednesday, 27 August 1997
Page: 5796


Senator SHERRY —My question is to Senator Hill, the Leader of the Government in the Senate representing the Prime Minister. Minister, are you aware that the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet have put together a list of fringe benefits that senior public servants can access in order to repackage their salaries and thereby avoid your government's new 15 per cent superannuation tax? Such fringe benefits would include a motor vehicle up to the value of $55,000, laptop computers and mobile phones. Does the government support salary repackaging by senior Prime Minister and Cabinet officers to avoid the new 15 per cent superannuation tax? If not, what action will the government take to ensure that their new 15 per cent superannuation tax is not avoided by their own employees?


Senator HILL —I must have missed that one. I will find out—


Senator Schacht —You miss a lot these days, Hilly.


Senator HILL —I do not think I miss much at all but I apparently missed that one. I will find out the detail of that and come back with a considered response.


Senator SHERRY —Madam President, I ask a supplementary question. Senator, surely you should be able to rule out on the one hand the government introducing a new superannuation tax and on the other hand employees of the Prime Minister seeking to avoid the government's new superannuation tax. Does the list of fringe benefits that can be used to avoid your government's new 15 per cent superannuation tax have the approval of both the Secretary to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mr Max Moore-Wilton, and the Prime Minister?


Senator HILL —I will not accept the premise of the question until I have ascertained the facts. I have said I will check on that and come back and give you a considered answer.