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Monday, 19 March 2012
Page: 2171


Senator BOYCE (Queensland) (19:31): I present the report of the Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services on the provisions of the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Trustee Obligations and Prudential Standards) Bill 2012, including the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (MySuper Core Provisions) Bill 2011, together with the Hansard record of proceedings and documents presented to the committee.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Senator BOYCE: by leave—I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

On yet another occasion we have a dissenting report from the coalition based on the complete mismanagement of the legislative program and of policy development by this government. This is about the third report that I have been involved in today where the government's own majority report on the bill has comment after comment suggesting that the bill should not be passed in its present form. It is easy to see many of these comments. The government says that, in terms of the liability offences under the bill, it is apparent that the offence at 29WA is incomplete. But where is the recommendation to fix that? There is not one. Many of these requirements suggest a staggered approach to the introduction of the legislation. The comment in the government's majority report was:

Evidence before the committee is highly critical of this staggered approach of introducing the MySuper reforms.

It quotes at length from the Financial Services Council, saying:

Further, subsequent tranches to this legislation may give rise to additional issues with this very bill.

That was one of the two bills. The government first asked for comments on one bill, introduced a second bill and then gave people 10 days to comment on the second bill. There is a third bill which, as all the witnesses pointed out, might yet affect the first bill.

The way this has been conducted is I was going to say a dog's breakfast but it is more a bitzer's breakfast. If you look at the fact that the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Mr Shorten, has recently agreed that the FoFA legislation will be 'voluntary' for the first 12 months, this is some cack-handed way of the government attempting to not accept the view of the opposition, the view of any intelligent practitioner in the field, that there is no point in introducing vast numbers of different types of legislation that affect the investment, the superannuation and the financial advice industry at different times in different ways, especially when they do not know what the effects will be. The report goes on:

In the evidence put by the government members of this committee alone it was evident that the introduction of the MySuper scheme in tranches has resulted in bills that are not self-contained.

It was put to the committee that matters contained in one bill cannot be evaluated on the basis of the provisions in that bill alone. Rather, understanding one concept requires reference to all tranches of the MySuper legislation and this includes the topic of intrafunded advice, which of course was an area where we received a lot of submissions. Once again, you have legislation that does not set out definitions. It sets out to confuse and leave it for the regulations, which this government has yet to even consult on, before the financial services industry, the superannuation industry, will have any certainty in what is happening.

The committee view—and by that I mean the majority government members of the committee in their report, is:

The introduction of the MySuper legislation in numerous tranches in effect asks parliament to pass a segment of an overall policy scheme in reliance on statements by the executive on the final form of the scheme. It is also of concern to the committee that measures in tranches yet to be introduced and apparently still under development …

This is the government members who think apparently they are still under development. The introduction of those tranches and the measures in those tranches will affect the measures in the two bills that are subject to the parliamentary inquiry and are yet to come before this chamber, although they have gone through the House of Representatives. The government report goes on to say that, while the approach taken may not be best practice, it is the most practical. I am sorry for the government members; that is their vague attempt to try and say the way the government has done this is acceptable. It is not acceptable. It has been a typical mishmash of mistaken attempts at implementation. We are currently debating the mineral resources rent tax. There was a further report released today on personally controlled e-health records with the same words from the government's committee. The only thing that is missing from the lines put in this report by the majority of members is the suggestion that they go away and think about this again. And that is certainly what we as a coalition will be suggesting. We have some amendments to suggest. To go ahead with this bill while we are still waiting for the Productivity Commission's report is wrongheaded. It is wrongheadedness based in ignorance, unfortunately, of how the real world operates.

Before I conclude my remarks, I would like to thank the outgoing chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, Mr Bernie Ripoll, for his good-humoured and intelligent chairing of the committee. I would also like to congratulate Ms Deborah O'Neill on being elected to the position of chair of the committee.