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Thursday, 13 May 2004
Page: 23204


Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads) (9:47 AM) —I move:

That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speeches read as follows—

PARLIAMENTARY SUPERANNUATION BILL 2004

The Parliamentary Superannuation Bill 2004 is part of a package of two Bills. The package will put in place new superannuation arrangements for persons who become members of the Federal Parliament at or after the next general election.

As announced by the Prime Minister on 12 February 2004, these Bills will bring superannuation arrangements for new Senators and Members into line with community standards.

The Parliamentary Superannuation Bill 2004 provides the framework for the superannuation arrangements for new Senators and Members. I repeat that these arrangements will apply to new Senators and Members who enter the Federal Parliament for the first time at or after the next general election. The arrangements will also apply to former Senators and Members, and former State or Territory Parliamentarians, who are elected to the Federal Parliament at or after the next general election.

These changes will have no impact on the existing superannuation arrangements for sitting Senators and Members.

Current sitting Senators and Members will continue to be covered by the existing Parliamentary superannuation arrangements, and will not have an option to transfer to the new arrangements.

The Bill provides for employer superannuation contributions of 9% of a Senator's or a Member's Parliamentary salary, and for those contributions to be paid to a complying superannuation fund, or Retirement Savings Account, chosen by the Senator or the Member.

The Bill also provides for the Minister for Finance and Administration to nominate a default fund to receive contributions for those Senators or Members who do not choose a fund or a Retirement Savings Account.

The changes proposed by this Bill build on the substantial Government changes, made in 2001, to more closely align Parliamentarians' superannuation with the superannuation arrangements for the majority of Australians.

The 2001 changes meant that new Senators and Members elected at or after the November 2001 election would have their pensions deferred between leaving the Federal Parliament and age 55—imposing a higher standard of preservation on Parliamentarians than applies to other Australians who receive pensions.

Those changes, and the changes proposed by the package of Bills that will introduce the new superannuation arrangements, deliver on the Prime Minister's commitment to more closely align Parliamentary superannuation arrangements with those applying for the general community.

Financial Impact

The package of Bills will improve the fiscal balance and have a negative impact on underlying cash. The financial implications of the package are explained in more detail in the Explanatory Memorandum for the Bill.

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PARLIAMENTARY SUPERANNUATION AND OTHER ENTITLEMENTS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2004

The Parliamentary Superannuation and Other Entitlements Legislation Amendment Bill 2004 is part of a package of two Bills. The package will put in place new superannuation arrangements for persons who become members of the Federal Parliament at or after the next general election.

The package of Bills delivers on the Prime Minister's commitment to bring superannuation arrangements for parliamentarians in line with current community standards.

The new arrangements will have no impact on the existing superannuation arrangements for sitting Senators and Members.

Current sitting Senators and Members will continue to be covered by the existing Parliamentary superannuation arrangements, and will not have an option to transfer to the new arrangements proposed by the Parliamentary Superannuation Bill 2004.

This Bill will amend the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Act 1948 to close the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme to new members from the next general Federal election.

It will also provide for the suspension of any pensions being paid to former Senators and Members who are again elected to the Federal Parliament at or after the next general election. These pensions will be suspended until they next leave the Parliament, and employer superannuation contributions for their later period of Parliamentary service will be provided for under the new superannuation arrangements.

The Bill also amends the Remuneration and Allowances Act 1990 to allow a limited salary sacrifice facility, for Senators and Members who are entitled to superannuation under the new arrangements proposed by the Parliamentary Superannuation Bill 2004. Those Senators and Members will be able to salary sacrifice up to 50% of their total Parliamentary salaries as additional employer superannuation contributions.

Financial Impact

The package of Bills will improve the fiscal balance and have a negative impact on underlying cash. The financial implications of the package are explained in more detail in the Explanatory Memorandum for the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Senator Mackay) adjourned.