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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1251


Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (17:28): by leave—I move Greens amendments (1) to (3) and (5) to 23 together:

(1) Schedule 1, item 3, page 4 (line 16) to page 5 (line 16), omit the item, substitute:

3 Section 3

Repeal the section, substitute:

3 Simplified outline of this Act

On retirement from the Parliament a person may, if he or she has satisfied the relevant qualifying period, become the holder of a Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement conferring travel entitlements under this Act.

Under this Act:

(a) there are limits on when a person must have entered Parliament, and when a person must have satisfied the qualifying period and retired from the Parliament, in order to become the holder of a Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement; and

(b) a Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement expires after a limited period.

Travel entitlements are limited to return trips that are within Australia, and that comply with certain other requirements (including that the travel be for the public benefit). There are also limits on the number of trips to which a person is entitled.

If a superannuation order is made under the Crimes (Superannuation Benefits) Act 1989 in relation to a person convicted of a corruption offence, the person is disqualified from travel entitlements under this Act and from severance travel.

No person will have a Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement after the day section 1 of the Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Act 2017 commences.

(2) Schedule 1, item 8, page 6 (line 25), omit "the Prime Minister or".

(3) Schedule 1, item 10, page 7 (lines 9 and 10), omit ", other than to members who become Prime Minister".

(5) Schedule 1, item 12, page 7 (lines 22 to 24), omit ", unless the person is the Prime Minister, or a former Prime Minister, when he or she retires".

(6) Schedule 1, item 12, page 7 (lines 29 to 31), omit ", unless the person is the Prime Minister, or a former Prime Minister, when he or she retires".

(7) Schedule 1, item 12, page 8 (lines 1 and 2), omit "(other than for former Prime Ministers)".

(8) Schedule 1, item 12, page 8 (lines 3 to 12), omit subsection 4C(1), substitute:

Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement expires in accordance with this section

(1) If a person is a holder of a Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement on 13 May 2014, or becomes a holder of a Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement after that day, the person's Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement expires in accordance with this section.

(9) Schedule 1, item 12, page 8 (line 18), omit "subject to subsection (3),".

(10) Schedule 1, item 12, page 8 (lines 25 and 26), omit subsection 4C(3).

(11) Schedule 1, item 12, page 8 (lines 33 and 34), omit "but is not a former Prime Minister".

(12) Schedule 1, item 12, page 9 (line 7), omit "a former Prime Minister or".

(13) Schedule 1, item 12, page 9 (lines 16 and 17), omit "but is not a former Prime Minister".

(14) Schedule 1, item 12, page 9 (line 32), omit "a former Prime Minister or".

(15) Schedule 1, items 13 and 14, page 10 (lines 13 to 19), omit the items, substitute:

13 Section 9 (heading)

Repeal the heading, substitute:

9 When return trip is in a year

13A Subsection 9(1) (heading)

Repeal the heading.

13B Subsection 9(1)

Omit "(1)".

13C Subsections 9(2), (3) and (4)

Repeal the subsections.

14 Sections 9A and 9B

Repeal the sections.

(16) Schedule 1, items 16 and 17, page 10 (lines 23 to 28), omit the items, substitute:

16 Subsection 10(1) (table items 2 and 3)

Repeal the items.

17 Subsection 10(3)

Repeal the subsection.

(17) Schedule 1, item 20, page 11 (lines 3 to 17), omit the item, substitute:

20 Section 13

Omit:

(b) a pro-rata adjustment where a person becomes the spouse or de facto partner of a former member or member during a year;

(c) a pro-rata adjustment where, during a year, a member satisfies the relevant qualifying period for the issue of a Life Gold Pass.

substitute:

(b) a pro-rata adjustment where the maximum term of a Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement under subsection 4C(6) or (7) will end during a year.

(18) Schedule 1, item 21, page 11 (lines 20 and 21), omit ", or former Prime Minister nominates spouse ordefactopartner,".

(19) Schedule 1, items 23 and 24, page 12 (lines 1 to 6), omit the items, substitute:

23 Subsection 14(1) (table item 2)

Repeal the item.

(20) Schedule 1, item 26, page 12 (lines 9 to 24), omit the item, substitute:

26 Subsection 14(2)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

(2) The number of domestic return trips for the purposes of the table in subsection (1) is the number of trips worked out using the formula in subsection (2A).

26A Subsection 14(2A)

Omit "paragraph (2) (a)", substitute "subsection (2)".

(21) Schedule 1, item 28, page 13 (lines 18 to 31), omit subsection 18(3), substitute:

Interaction between items 1 and 2 of the table in subsection (2) and the rules in section 4C about expiry of Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlements

(3) If item 2 of the table in subsection (2) applies (whether or not item 1 also applies), then nothing in either of those items is to be taken to result in:

(a) the person resuming being the holder of a Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement; or

(b) requiring a Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement to be restored to the person;

on the revocation of the order if the revocation takes effect after the nominal expiry time for the Parliamentary Retirement Travel Entitlement that the person held when the order was made.

(22) Schedule 1, items 29 to 31, page 14 (lines 5 to 18), omit the items, substitute:

29 Paragraph 21(a)

Omit ", or the surviving spouse or de facto partner of a former member,".

30 Section 21

Omit ", or the surviving spouse or de facto partner, as the case may be," (wherever occurring).

31 Section 22

Repeal the section.

(23) Schedule 1, items 33 and 34, page 14 (lines 21 to 26), omit the items, substitute:

33 Subsection 28(2)

Repeal the subsection.

34 Paragraph 29(1) (b)

Omit ", or the person's spouse or de facto partner,".

34A Subsection 29(1)

Omit "traveller" (wherever occurring), substitute "person".

These are the first amendments that we have that will, if adopted, give effect to totally getting rid of the gold pass. At the moment the government has not done that job fully. If the legislation passes in the form we have it in here, former prime ministers will still have a gold pass, so it will live on. Obviously then it would reach its centenary. I said in my speech during the second reading debate why that is really not advisable. When we have heard from the minister there has not been a case put. There has been no justification set out for why prime ministers should retain the gold pass.

Also I would like to bring to the attention of senators that the 2010 Belcher review into entitlements—and we know there have been many reviews—recommended abolishing the scheme prospectively and allowing existing members to retain their entitlements. That was the summary of it. But there was no exemption for former prime ministers. At that stage, although it was a step towards getting rid of the whole Life Gold Pass, they were already recognising that former prime ministers should not be given a special place here. I want to draw to the attention of senators that this has been recognised in this previous report. It is actually recommendation 20 where the Life Gold Pass is dealt with and where you can see the review did not make any exemption for former prime ministers. It is disappointing now that the government has brought in this exemption for prime ministers when we were on the eve of cleaning up the whole mess.

When I spoke earlier I also said that this is an issue of enormous public concern, and, being frank about it, it would be hard for any senator to deny why we are now debating it and why the government has got to this point. It is because it has become untenable to keep this scheme going. The government knows it. We have all seen it in one form or another when we are out in our communities, when we are back in our states talking to people. There is concern. There is cynicism. Senator Richard Di Natale put it very clearly on the record. I have also. This legislation is still important, but let us do the job thoroughly. That is what the Greens' amendments do. I urge members to support the Greens' amendments as the first step in the package that we are bringing forward to clean up the Life Gold Pass entirely so that we can get rid of it and we can delegate it to history.