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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1266


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (18:38): I indicate to the chamber that I will be supporting Senator Bernardi's amendments. As I said, I cannot get the financial cost of these because the government has suddenly lost its tongue when it comes to questions here. But I am persuaded by Senator Bernardi's second reading speech that this is a worthwhile amendment and I will be supporting it.

The TEMPORARY CHAIR: The question is that the amendments as moved by Senator Bernardi on sheet 8065— numbers (1) and (2) together by leave—be agreed to.

Schedule 2, page 19 (before line 4), before heading specifying Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990, insert:

Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948

1A At the end of section 18

Add:

(13) Despite anything in this Act, any instrument under this Act or any other law relating to Parliamentary superannuation, a member is not entitled to any benefit under this Act, or any other law relating to Parliamentary superannuation, unless the member is at least 60 years old.

Schedule 2, page 20 (after line 2), after item 5, insert:

5A After section 5

Insert:

5A Retired former Prime Ministers

(1) The Commonwealth must not provide any benefits under any administrative scheme to a person on the basis that the person is a retired former Prime Minister unless the person was the Prime Minister for a period of at least 4 consecutive years.

(2) To avoid doubt, subsection (1) does not apply to superannuation.

I mentioned this in my second reading speech: the High Court case that was taken on behalf of former parliamentarians in the respect of the gold card also included a grasp for additional funds for their defined benefit scheme pensions when they retired at an early age. They wanted to avail themselves of more money. The High Court ruled that this was not a property right. I think it is only reasonable that those who retire from this place who are eligible for a defined benefit pension scheme are not able to access it until they reach the preservation age, like every other Australian, of 60 years of age. This will prevent circumstances where we have seen leaders of political parties in this place retire at the ripe old age of 38, or thereabouts, and they are still living on the taxpayers' purse.

This brings into alignment the things that many of us who are not on the defined benefits scheme get criticised for: that we have fat juicy pensions and lifetime pensions as soon as we leave here. The fact is that we do not, but some do. This will bring it into line so that they cannot access it until they are 60. It will also be a big saving to the budget. I am sure the minister is not going to tell me exactly how much that is, but nonetheless I have moved the amendment standing in my name.