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- Start of Business
- TELECOMMUNICATIONS (CARRIER LICENCE CHARGES) AMENDMENT BILL 1998
- PRIME MINISTER
- AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND ENGINEERING COUNCIL REPEAL BILL 1998
- PAYMENT SYSTEMS AND NETTING BILL 1998
- PRIVACY AMENDMENT BILL 1998
- WORKPLACE RELATIONS AMENDMENT (SUPERANNUATION) BILL 1997
- MINISTERIAL ARRANGEMENTS
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- DISTINGUISHED VISITORS
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Beazley, Kim, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Causley, Ian, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
(Evans, Gareth, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Andrews, Kevin, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
(Crean, Simon, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Hockey, Joe, MP, Ruddock, Philip, MP)
(Crean, Simon, MP, Howard, John, MP)
Telecommunications: Regional Services
(Neville, Paul, MP, Smith, Warwick, MP)
(Beazley, Kim, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(McArthur, Stewart, MP, Reith, Peter, MP)
Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport
(Zammit, Paul, MP, Vaile, Mark, MP)
(Nugent, Peter, MP, Downer, Alexander, MP)
(Crean, Simon, MP, Howard, John, MP)
(Pyne, Chris, MP, Smith, Warwick, MP)
(Beazley, Kim, MP, Howard, John, MP)
Job Pathway Program
(Barresi, Phil, MP, Kemp, Dr David, MP)
- Prime Minister
- PRIME MINISTER
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- CARRIER LICENCE CONDITIONS (VODAFONE PTY LIMITED) DECLARATION 1997
- WORKPLACE RELATIONS AMENDMENT (SUPERANNUATION) BILL 1997
- MATTERS REFERRED TO MAIN COMMITTEE
COMPANY LAW REVIEW BILL 1997
MANAGED INVESTMENTS BILL 1997
- TAXATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL (No. 5) 1997
- PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION BILL 1996
- BALLAST WATER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FUNDING LEVY COLLECTION BILL 1997
- SOCIAL SECURITY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (YOUTH ALLOWANCE) BILL 1997
- TAX LAW IMPROVEMENT BILL (No. 2) 1997
- TAXATION LAWS AMENDMENT BILL (No. 7) 1997
- Start of Business
- TAX LAW IMPROVEMENT BILL (No. 2) 1997
- CHILD SUPPORT LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 1998
QUESTIONS ON NOTICE
International Monetary Fund: Australian Economic Benefits
(Thomson, Kelvin, MP, Costello, Peter, MP)
(Crosio, Janice, MP, Williams, Daryl, MP)
Foundation for Survivors of Torture: Commonwealth Funding
(Ferguson, Martin, MP, Ruddock, Philip, MP)
Protection Visa Applications
(Ferguson, Martin, MP, Ruddock, Philip, MP)
- International Monetary Fund: Australian Economic Benefits
Wednesday, 1 April 1998
Mr GARETH EVANS (7:02 PM) —The Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (No. 7) 1997 contains a large number of unrelated taxation matters, including in particular relating to the introduction of the new government savings rebate scheme, on which I will have something to say, together with a major proposed change to the superannuation system, known as the `choice regime', on which I will have rather less to say, leaving the primary carriage of this to the shadow parliamentary secretary, the member for Wills (Mr Kelvin Thomson).
This debate takes place against the background of the so-called tax reform debate taking place in Australia at the moment. I say `so-called' because there is no debate really taking place, and that is for the reason that the government, specifically the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) and the Treasurer (Mr Costello), refuse to participate in one. As recently as Wednesday, the Treasurer specifically refused to debate me in this House on the question of what the government was going to do about the growing use of trusts for tax avoidance purposes, leaving it to honourable members rather lower down the food chain to defend the government's honour in this respect. The Treasurer refused an invitation from the ABC—not for the first time—to debate with me again the same issue last week on the 7.30 Report.
It is a fair question as to why the government will not come clean on this issue. Why has the promised discussion paper on the taxation of trusts been suppressed? Is it because so many coalition frontbenchers have trusts? Is it because so many coalition backbenchers have trusts and there would be a party room revolt if the government were to do something decent and effective about tax avoidance in this area? Is it because of some other deal that we know nothing about?
We have the ludicrous situation where these two leaders, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer of the government, are constantly denigrating Australia's tax system generally through false claims or wild exaggerations of the scale of particular problems, yet they absolutely refuse to tell us what they are planning to do. What they are engaged in is a concerted effort to falsely worry Australian businessmen and families that the Australian taxation system is broken. We know, and we have certainly argued, that that is patently untrue. The truth of the matter is that the tax system is in very much better shape than it was when Labor came into power in the early 1980s. Then it was fair to say that the tax system really was broken, and it was broken because of the negligent stewardship of the then Treasurer, the current Prime Minister.
It was not broken because the necessities of life—food, clothing, shelter and utility services—were exempt from tax. Rather, it was broken because paying tax was optional for those with access to specialist taxation advice. Then Treasurer Howard refused to act for years on the taxation advice provided by Tax Commissioner O'Reilly. He was, to put it at its most charitable, asleep at the wheel or, rather worse, and I suspect more accurately, he was deliberately protecting a small minority of the community.
The problems we confronted after 1983 when we came into office were, as a consequence of that, quite enormous. For a start, capital gains were generally quite outside the tax net. As a result, quite literally, the rich could get richer without any contribution being made to the general community. It did fall to Labor to address that glaring anomaly, and we did so. What was the coalition's response to that issue? It was to oppose passage of the capital gains tax tooth and nail.
When the present Prime Minister was campaigning in the 1987 election as the then Leader of the Opposition, he proposed to abolish capital gains tax and to substitute a paltry so-called speculative gains tax which only taxed gains made on assets bought and sold within a year. It was only when Dr Hewson became opposition leader that the conservative side of politics was brought to the grudging and reluctant acceptance that a capital gains tax is an essential part of an equitable, modern taxation system.
The second area where the tax system in this country was genuinely broken when we came into office was in the area of fringe benefits. The law as it then existed attempted to include the value of non-cash benefits, but it was a joke to the tax planning industry. The provision could be avoided effortlessly, and it was consistently. This meant that executives could arrange their affairs to pay little or no income tax whereas their employees had to pay tax on all of their wages. In present value, billions of dollars of income avoided tax. It did fall to Labor again to fix that disgraceful anomaly. Again, the coalition, under the leadership of the present Prime Minister, opposed that progressive and equitable reform.
Fortunately, the efforts of the coalition were unsuccessful in stopping real tax reform on those occasions, but it was not for want of trying. It should be recalled for the record that, on occasions like this when we succumb to daily bouts of hypocrisy on the subject of the present tax system, the coalition also subsequently opposed the raft of foreign source income measures which brought foreign income earned by Australians into the tax net for the first time. They also opposed the clampdown on the use of tax havens and a number of other measures which have massively increased the fairness of the current tax system. All of those reforms were achieved—it is important to emphasise— without having to resort to the punishment of ordinary families when they do their shopping or pay their bills, as will of course happen under a GST.
This objective of the Prime Minister's is despite the fact that prior to the last election he promised, in language that leaves absolutely no room for wriggle, that a GST would not be the future policy of the coalition. I think it is worth reading into the record what he said in that famous or—perhaps better—notorious doorstop at Tweed Heads on 2 May 1995:
JOURNALIST: So you've left the door open for a GST now, haven't you?
HOWARD: No, there's no way a GST will ever be part of our policy.
JOURNALIST: Never, ever?
HOWARD: Never ever. It's dead. It was killed by the voters at the last election.
he was a very indefatigable journalist—
Were you misquoted in today's Australian then?
HOWARD: Well, any suggestion that I left the door open is absolute nonsense. I didn't. I never will. The last election killed the GST. It's not part of our policy and it won't be part of our policy at any time in the future.
JOURNALIST: If the concept of the GST comes up in the polls . . . would you go back and revisit that area, or look at it again?
HOWARD: No . . . No, because we are against it . . . It is absolutely out of the question.
A wry smile from the honourable member for Adelaide (Ms Worth) opposite. The truth of the matter is that the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, in committing themselves to this particular `reform' of the tax system, are acting absolutely against what they said their stated policy was in an absolutely unprecedented way.
A truly amazing thing about the current situation is that while the Prime Minister and the Treasurer are trying to build up a false case against the current system, arguing its decrepitude and unworkability, they do steadfastly refuse to detail what they intend to propose to the Australian people. They are running around saying, `The system is broke. It's terrible.' But they refuse to spell out even in broad terms what they are planning to do. They still refuse to admit what is supremely self-evident—that the main objective, the central objective, of their agenda is the introduction of a comprehensive GST.
We have had a tax task force secretly meeting since last August. We have established that it has already spent over $1.2 million of public money, yet it keeps no record of its meetings. It meets without having formal agendas. All of the work that it produces, most importantly, is kept secret by the government. We know that the identification of the various options has already been completed. If the Treasurer is interested in a genuine, well-informed public tax debate all he has to do is release that information that has been generated by the task force, paid for with taxpayers' money, so that the community can evaluate the real options that are available.
It is not necessarily a matter of putting down at this stage the government's own preferred approach to this, desirable as that would be. The most important thing is simply for the range of options that has already been generated, costed and quantified by the task force to be made public. Then the full range of those options can be known by the community. The worthiness of the government's package can be judged in its proper context, if and when it is released. Why is the government afraid of this process? Why don't we have an open, inclusive process, as we did in 1985, with the publication of a substantial draft white paper canvassing various options?
The reason is, I suggest, that the government knows that its agenda simply will not stack up under detailed scrutiny. They know that the unfairness inherent in their basic objectives cannot be hidden. It certainly cannot be hidden if the facts are on the table for an extended period. So they refuse to put that information into the public arena. They want it out at the last possible moment. It is a clear strategy to avoid a real debate. It is not to engage in one. The government really does stand condemned for its cynicism.
Looking at the particular provisions of this bill, which, as I say, are introduced against that background but do not tell us much what the ultimate tax package is going to be, there are a number of major proposals contained in the bill. I will quickly go through them, spending most time on the first, because it is the most substantial—the savings rebate. This was announced in the 1997-98 budget as a really, I have to say, pathetic substitute for Labor's national superannuation co-contribution regime, which was abandoned at the same time in that budget. The savings rebate is really a savings option in the context of that last budget. It certainly does not constitute a net gain to the vast majority of working Australians. Rather, it is an enormous future cost.
Moreover, the abandonment of co-contribution was a deliberate repudiation of the solemn commitment that was given by this government prior to the last election that it would in fact honour the co-contribution proposed by Labor. Unless anyone is in doubt about that, let me quote from a speech by the then shadow Treasurer, Mr Costello, the member for Higgins, to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia on 2 November 1995. He said:
We will deliver the full tax dollars earmarked by the Budget back into superannuation or like savings vehicles on the schedule set down. We reserve the right to vary the mechanism to provide the most effective and equitable delivery of these dollars. Further details will be made known during the election period. But they will be paid in full.
Minor variations, possibly, yes. Basic concept, basic dollars, clearly there committed.
It was a classic example of a non-core promise, as we have come to understand all too unhappily in so many other contexts—promises strongly delivered then abandoned when it is convenient to do so. Other people call them by their proper name, that is, broken promises—nothing more and nothing less than that. The crucial thing is that this particular deception of the Australian people is coming at a tremendous cost. The co-contribution was a visionary plan which would have massively increased the retirement income of future generations of Australians. It would have delivered security in retirement and would also have delivered Australia a huge increase in national savings in the future.
On the first aspect of it, increasing security in retirement, the superannuation guarantee scheme, which will deliver superannuation contributions of nine per cent of people's income when it is fully implemented, is itself a tremendous base for adequate retirement income for average Australians. Even that was voted against by the coalition, just as they voted against any other decent reform in recent years. However, what needed to happen was the supplementation of that nine per cent base with another six per cent, three plus three, in order to provide completely adequate retirement income. That is exactly what the co-contribution regime was designed to do, and that is why its abandonment is such a tragedy for the Australian community.
The effect of this has been estimated by the Commonwealth's retirement incomes modelling task force, or RIM task force, which estimated that a worker who was 35 years old in 1994-95 earning average weekly ordinary time earnings and who retires at age 65 would have had a superannuation benefit under our scheme of around $280,000 in real terms. However, without the benefit of the co-contribution regime, with its abandonment, that worker's final benefit will not be $280,000 but only $170,000 in the same dollars.
This decision has cost that particular worker and millions of others around 40 per cent of his or her final retirement benefit and significantly reduced the standard of living capable of enjoyment by such workers in retirement. The fact that all of this has not been really widely understood in the community is absolutely no excuse for this appalling decision.
The second area of lost opportunity in the government's decision here was the effect of that decision on the future level of national savings, which has just been devastating. With the Asian crisis about to beset us, indicating a very serious current account deficit problem in the future, it is even more vital that the level of national savings be maintained and that the whole burden of doing so not fall on public savings through the budget.
The estimate by the RIM task force was that the co-contribution would have increased aggregate national savings by $400 billion over and above what it otherwise would have been by the year 2020. By this time it would have been increasing the level of national savings around two per cent of GDP per annum. We would have benefited both those in retirement and we would have benefited the nation by significantly increasing the pool of domestic savings, increasing the funds available of course for domestic investment and job creation.
Instead of all that—and it has all been abandoned—we have now this savings tax offset known as the savings rebate. It will provide a rebate of 15 per cent of the tax that would otherwise be payable on up to $3,000 worth of non-salary and wage income earned after 1 July 1999. Non-deductible superannuation contributions do also qualify for this rebate, with a 7½ per cent rate applying for this 1998-99 year.
The greatest irony, indeed tragedy, about the savings rebate is that it has little or nothing to do with improving savings. It really has nothing to do with increasing national savings nor with rewarding Australians in any very direct way for increasing their savings. It is, in fact, a subsidy to be paid to people who are deriving unearned income. If you work as an employee and receive salary or wages then you pay normal tax. But if you get considerable unearned income or business income, then you will get the benefit of this particular rebate, enabling you to pay $450 less tax a year.
Ordinary employees, as a result, not only lose the higher level of retirement income that our co-contribution scheme would have delivered; they will also generally not qualify for the full $450. That is because the average interest earned by something over five million taxpayers, I understand, is less than $150 a year. If this were the only source of non-salary and wage income, as it is for most people—earnings of interest and so on of that order of magnitude—then what you are talking about is only a savings rebate of around $22.50 or less than 50c a week, and only half of that for good measure in this current year of 1998-99.
To pretend that the savings rebate is a major benefit to most people is quite simply a joke in bad taste. It is a device which lowers the tax for all types of unearned income—interest, dividends, trust and partnership distributions, rent and so on—and for superannuation pensions and eligible termination payments. It rewards people who are living off their savings rather than rewarding people for engaging in saving, other than—and there is an exception—in the case of direct superannuation contributions.
The critical thing to understand about all this is that it can actually reward people who are engaged in dis-saving. On the assumption that people are earning, say, six per cent on the long-term bond rate on their savings at the moment, that means that so long as you have $50,000 invested somewhere you will be generating the $3,000 of unearned income which will enable you to receive the full rebate. That means, for example, if you started a year with $75,000 invested and ran down that capital so that at the end of the year you only had $50,000—in other words, if you dis-saved to the tune of $25,000—you could still collect the full $450 rebate. This is absolutely absurd and the second reading amendment that I will be moving at the conclusion of my remarks points up that particular absurdity.
We have previously established in Senate estimates that the savings rebate will not result in an increase in national savings, according to the government's own retirement incomes modelling task force. That is an issue that we will be further pursuing and fleshing out in the Senate when this legislation gets there. The cost of the savings rebate to budget is large. It is rising to over $2 billion in the year 2000-01; presumably it will grow still further in future years. One would have thought that the government would have been very proud of such an initiative. In fact the reverse was true. It will be remembered that the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) was so embarrassed that he would qualify for the full rebate that he announced in fact to this parliament on the day after the budget last year that he would not be claiming it.
However, the problem for him became that the savings rebate will be calculated automatically. There is no provision for him not to claim the benefit. Indeed, advice from the bureaucracy indicated that to create a system that would allow the Prime Minister or anyone else to opt out would have cost some millions of dollars in administrative costs. Even though he knows it is unfair—knows it so well that he got up in public and said that he would not accept it—the Prime Minister will in fact benefit from this provision. That is why we consider not only this whole thing to be a nonsense but also that, if it was to be applied at all, it should certainly have been done on the basis of a decent means test. Again, my second reading amendment goes to this point.
Despite the measure being considered unfair by Labor, as it was and still is—that is, only rewarding those with savings related income—the savings rebate was in fact the centrepiece of last year's budget. We take the view that opposition to it in this place, or more significantly in the Senate, is inconsistent with Labor's general position that governments are entitled to their major budget measures, however wrong-headed those measures might be. Accordingly I do indicate now that the opposition does not propose to oppose this measure. We think it is very bad policy. We think it is a disgrace, certainly, compared with the company-contribution regime that it replaced. However, it is the government's measure for better or worse and we will not oppose it.
I cannot let the debate pass on this issue without pointing out just one other thing—I have already mentioned it but I will emphasise it—that is, the savings rebate does also apply to distributions from trusts. Far from cracking down on trusts, the government is proposing to actually reward the use of trusts for income splitting by providing a further maximum additional benefit of $450 per trust beneficiary. So in the case of a trust with multiple beneficiaries—a family consisting of a husband, wife and, let us say, seven children—the family could obtain an additional benefit of nine times $450, or $4,050 a year. How that could possibly be in the national interest is beyond our ken.
The second measure—and I will be much briefer about all these other elements in the bill—goes to distributions from private companies. It is longstanding practice for private companies to not distribute their profits to shareholders to avoid the tax that may be payable thereby on the dividends, but rather for a loan to be made to the shareholders. That loan is very often on non-commercial terms—with no interest payable and it being repayable on demand—which means that the shareholder effectively gets the income without having to pay tax on it. The income tax law has for many years had a provision attempting to deal with this issue, but it has proven ineffective in meeting its objectives. Last year's budget contained an announcement to tighten the law to ensure that non-commercial loans by private companies to their shareholders were subject to punitive tax to stamp out that practice, and that is achieved in the bill by strengthening the existing provisions—sections 108 and 109.
These proposals have been particularly controversial with the small business community, which has lobbied strongly against them. The government has relented on some aspects, specifically those concerning benefits paid to shareholders in their capacity as employees, which contained a myriad of unintended consequences sometimes involving double or even triple taxation.
Incredibly, the backdown on employee benefits was announced not by the Treasurer but by the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Kemp, who was left to clean up the Treasurer's mess in this respect. The Treasurer always runs for cover when it comes to anything remotely embarrassing in the conduct of his portfolio.
While supporting the proposals in principle in the soon to be amended bill, the opposition is concerned that there may be some further anomalies which do treat small businesses unnecessarily unfairly. We believe that these provisions should be properly examined by a Senate committee and that is the course that we have supported. Perhaps it is embarrassment over this issue which has caused quite outrageous behaviour, I have to say, by the government in regard to proper Senate scrutiny of this legislation. I understand the government is proposing that a Senate inquiry into this legislation should report by this Thursday—tomorrow—and it secretly scheduled hearings into the bill on Monday, before this House had even considered the government's amendments. Some of the complex raft of amendments, which have not even been dealt with in this House yet, were released last Friday evening, so people only had a few hours—no more than that—to lodge submissions to the committee. That is a bad joke in terms of the government's respect for parliamentary process, and it should come back to haunt them.
The third measure goes to dividend imputation anti-avoidance. The 1997-98 budget contained a number of initiatives to counter abuse of the dividend imputation system. This bill proposes to implement two of these initiatives: namely, firstly, general anti-avoidance provisions specific to imputation and, secondly, anti-streaming rules—that is, rules to counter the practice of companies paying dividends, and giving other benefits, to shareholders in such a way as to give shareholders who benefit most from imputation credits a greater imputation benefit than those who would not benefit to the same degree.
The general anti-avoidance rules will apply to schemes to obtain a tax advantage in relation to imputation credits—that is, trading in those credits or streaming. The tax commissioner has the choice of whether to limit the company's imputation credits or to deny shareholders the benefit of the credits, depending on the type of scheme and the circumstances of either party. These general anti-avoidance rules will supplement the specific provisions for anti-streaming and the announced, but not yet introduced, provisions aimed at countering trading in imputation credits.
The industry is complaining that this represents a double jeopardy problem for taxpayers—namely, even if they comply with the specific requirements under the anti-streaming provisions or the upcoming anti-trading in imputation credits provisions, they may still be caught by general anti-avoidance provisions. In addition, some are concerned by the wide drafting of the anti-avoidance provisions, and the relaxation of the normal test from tax avoidance being the dominant purpose for the transaction to being other than incidental to the transaction.
We are concerned that some of these criticisms may be valid, especially in the context of the potential impact on collective instruments, such as superannuation and managed investment funds, which are continually trading in shares, presumably for non-taxation reasons. We in the opposition certainly recognise the dilemma that, without general anti-avoidance provisions, wealthy taxpayers can be expected to devise ways to get around the specific provisions. God knows we fought long enough and hard enough to give real teeth and substance to part 4A in this respect. Accordingly, while strongly supporting the proposals in principle, the opposition is concerned that there may be some further anomalies which affect taxpayers unfairly, so what we want is for these provisions to be properly examined by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee.
There are a number of other specific matters in respect of which the opposition takes the view that they are, on their face, reasonable and do not require any further serious investigation by a Senate committee. I am referring to provisions about employers' remittance systems and about capital gains tax and an assets register in relation to that. Then there are much smaller matters like election expenses for the Constitutional Convention, gifts to the National Nurses Memorial Trust, provisions about charitable trusts and also some minor changes to the sales tax regime. I indicate as to all of those measures that the opposition does not oppose them.
The remaining part of the bill—and it is a very substantial part of the bill—goes to the question of choice of superannuation funds. I will leave detailed discussion of those matters, as I foreshadowed, to the member for Wills, whose bailiwick this is and whose knowledge of this subject is immense. What I do simply want to foreshadow, as he will spell out in more detail, is that Labor does propose a number of amendments to this part of the legislation. They will include delaying the start date for choice until 1 July 2000 for both new and existing employees; ensuring that default funds contain specific investment choice and insurance cover features to protect those employees who do not make an active choice from winding up in an inappropriate fund; outlawing commission based sales of products which receive superannuation guarantee contributions; removing clause 32V, which overrides industrial awards; redefining the definition of `industry based fund' to include the requirement that such funds operate on a not-for-profit basis; and inserting third-line forcing provisions which will prevent employers from forcing employees into a fund from which employers will receive a benefit.
In addition to those amendments, and hopefully substituting for them and making them unnecessary, the member for Wills will be seeking the support of this House for a completely alternative approach to the whole question of choice of fund. We believe that there is a substantial case to be made for a quite different model, which would be a two-stage one in which, as the first stage, all super funds with more than 50 fund members would be required to offer investment choice options to all fund members and, as a second stage, after an extensive education and consumer protection campaign, there would be implemented a genuine employee choice super model whereby employees could nominate to have super contributions paid into a fund other than that set out in an industrial award with the agreement of their employers.
We believe that here our model would lead to a much better choice arrangement which is driven by those whom this government should be most concerned about but whom it is manifestly not concerned about—that is, the Australian workers. If the government were concerned about workers here as elsewhere, then it would not be proceeding with this costly complicated choice of fund model that will in fact result in lower retirement incomes. I move:
That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:
"whilst not opposing the second reading of the bill, the House notes that the Government in this legislation has:
(1) broken its firm promise made before the last election to deliver the full amount of the superannuation co-contribution; and
(2) instead proposed a much less valuable and much less equitable savings rebate and notes that the policy;
(a) only specifically actually rewards saving in the form of superannuation contributions;
(b) enables the full amount of the rebate to be received notwithstanding the taxpayer has actually engaged in dis-saving;
(c) will result in the level of national savings being significantly lower than if the superannuation co-contribution arrangements were implemented;
(d) is not means tested and is therefore inequitable in its impact; and
(e) is so unfair that the Prime Minister announced to this House that he would not claim his entitlement".
Mr SPEAKER —Is the amendment seconded?
Mr Kelvin Thomson —I second the amendment and reserve my right to speak.