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Thursday, 20 November 1986
Page: 2605

Senator CHILDS —My question is directed to the Minister for Finance. Given the imminence of a change in the leadership of the Liberal Party, is the Minister concerned about the cost to the taxpayer in terms of future superannuation payments of the Opposition having another leader?

Senator WALSH —The short answer is no, and the reason is that entitlements under the Commonwealth parliamentary superannuation scheme for an office-holder-that is a leader of the Opposition or a number of other people-are worked out in proportion to the number of days that a member or senator spends as holder of a particular office. Therefore, a change in the leadership would not affect the liability which the taxpayer ultimately would be required to pick up. In fact, it would not even matter if the Opposition decided to take it in turns and let everybody have a go at the leadership before the next election. The back bench component of either an office-holder's pension, or any parliamentary pension, becomes cheaper to the taxpayers after 18 years because no further entitlement accrues to that component after 18 years. Finally, if members of the Waste Watch Committee, such as Senator Michael Baume and his colleagues, are worried about this and the cost to the taxpayer, if they vote in a particular way they will have nothing to worry about.