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Monday, 27 February 2012
Page: 866

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (19:45): I have some questions about the bill with respect to the decoupling of superannuation arrangements. It is understood that, in order for the pay rise recommended by the tribunal to come into effect, there must be some decoupling of the superannuation arrangements for those who were elected prior to 2004. That is the general consensus of the intent of the bill.

Senator Feeney: Yes.

Senator XENOPHON: The parliamentary secretary Senator Feeney said that is the case. It was a good, direct answer, which is what I expect from Senator Feeney. My question is this: how will the formula be derived at? Has the tribunal indicated to the government the sorts of things that it will be looking at? I understand the independence of the tribunal—I get that—but how will the tribunal look at those issues to ensure that there will not be an undue benefit or, arguably, an undue detriment to those members of parliament elected prior to 2004? The other issue, which would also apply to the issue of the gold pass, is whether consideration has been given as to whether there is any potential for legal action by any aggrieved members of parliament—presumably former members of parliament—in terms of the gold pass being reduced. Would they argue that it is taking away a property right? Similarly, has advice been obtained in relation to the issue of superannuation benefits for those elected prior to 2004, particularly those who may have retired?