Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 9 May 1994
Page: 430

Senator WATSON (4.02 p.m.) —I think that it is somewhat unfortunate that Senator Chapman, spokesman on this bill on this occasion, has not received the briefing that other members of the Senate have. I hope that it will not be a precedent for the future. When issues are raised by honourable senators, to which all parties have agreed to a postponement, and an explanation given I think the Liberal Party is entitled to that information.

  There were some misunderstandings about the nature of this bill. Unfortunately, they arose largely from some of the responses given by the government to issues raised by the opposition, including the Democrats. But at least the postponement gave us the opportunity to go back to the other authorities, particularly the union, to clarify the position.

  The present situation is that, in terms of the approximately 3,000 staff, some 2,400 were in a fully funded scheme; only 600 were in the unfunded state public service fund. We all know the nature of the state public service funding arrangements. My comments on funding still stand. These people have received lump sums on a formula basis designed to ensure that they are treated equitably, and the cost is some $12 million to $15 million.

  We need to know the extent of the tax losses forgone and the impact of the capping of the tax losses. I can understand the need for that. There are some unique circumstances which face the government, the State Bank, its employees and also the union in the decision to corporatise and then privatise the bank.

  I was interested in this topic from the superannuation point of view to make sure that these sorts of arrangements would not be used as a precedent in limiting a beneficiary's entitlement through the intervention of this parliament. Having spoken with the union, I understand that it is quite satisfied with the arrangements. Provided that this will not be a precedent for the future, it will accept the situation, given the unique circumstances of the matter.

  On the basis that there has been adequate consultation and agreement and no denial of benefits—I am told that the unfunded group will not lose any superannuation entitlement—the previous objection I raised has been withdrawn. My concern emanated from the fact that the position was not made as clear as should have occurred in the responses given to the issues raised by Senator Kernot and ourselves.