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Wednesday, 13 June 1984
Page: 2892


Senator Dame MARGARET GUILFOYLE(10.40) —I want to make a brief reference in the committee stage to one or two matters. I thank the Government for the response that it has made with regard to clauses 10, 18, 19 and 20, which relate to the discretion of the Commissioner of Taxation and his opinion with regard to certain matters. I think the statement that was made last night by the Minister for Social Security (Senator Grimes) will be of great help to those who were concerned about what would be the breadth of the Commissioner's discretion and the use of his opinion to determine some matters. I thank the Government for the statement that was made.

With regard to clause 15 and lump sum superannuation arrangements, I would be interested to have some information from the Government, in its response to the Committee, on a number of representations that have been made to me and, I feel sure, to the Government. One matter has been raised by the Australian Federation of Air Pilots. I would like to know what would be the cost if employees who came under the scheme prior to 19 May 1983 were to be taxed under the existing legislation rather than to have the new legislation applied to them; that is, if those who are presently in schemes were to continue under one set of rules and those who enter schemes from the date of the new legislation were to have the new legislation applied to them. I would be interested to have some views about costing on that. Some of the other representations that have been made by the Australian International Air Pilots Association-


Senator Walsh —Are you restricting that to the air pilots?


Senator Dame MARGARET GUILFOYLE —The representation before me is from the air pilots. But it would be of interest to see a general costing on those who are presently in schemes under existing legislation and those who will have the new legislation applied to them in the future. I imagine the overall cost would be considerable because the purpose of the legislation is to apply new arrangements into the future. Other representations have been made by the air pilots with regard to redundancy payments. I would be interested to hear from the Government with regard to those matters. Not only air pilots have raised that point; others , such as fire brigade officers and other groups who have certain requirements for retirement at particular ages, have also raised many matters with us. I think it would be appropriate for the Government to make some response to the public representations that have been made on a number of issues.

I think the superannuation funds feel that there has been a breach of understanding in the Government's approach and in the consultations that were held with them. The sorts of matters raised by Senator Harradine with regard to election of a commutation are of concern. Also, when there is a right to commute after a particular period, it was understood last year in consultation with the Government that this would begin at the period of retirement. But this is not covered in the terms of the legislation. The Chairman of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia is concerned with regard to these matters. I would like to have a response from the Government to the representations that have been made by air pilots, superannuation funds and others on particular concerns that they have. It is obvious that the Government's proposals are contained in the legislation. I recognise that there will be those who will be affected by them. But there are some who believed that they had understandings with and undertakings from the Government which have not been fulfilled in the legislation. I would like to have some response on that so that we might pursue the matter.