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Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Page: 9821


Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (11:18): I think Senator Cameron's point that we would have rather tested their amendment first was a very valid one, because I think that's the game changer for us—taking the SCT out of this architecture and this legislation. But can I say that the review was, once again, something the Greens had constructive discussions with the government about in recent weeks and months. We heard stakeholders, including in the superannuation industry, say that, if this were to get up, there should at least be a review of the new AFCA body. We wanted more than just a review. We wanted it to be tabled in parliament. We wanted it to be an instrument that we can debate and scrutinise closely. It is a big move to bring the ombudsman schemes together in a statutory body.

As I mentioned in my speech last night, we accept that there are different cultures and different aspects to superannuation and to financial services, especially the evolution of those organisations. One tends to have a judicial process; they're government employees; they're under a totally different, shall we say, ownership structure to FOS. As I mentioned earlier, these cultural issues haven't been sorted out yet. The super industry, including ASFA, still aren't convinced that there has been enough consultation on this, that it has been rushed and that these issues haven't been properly dealt with.

I reiterate to the government that they should have a process in place where they sit down with the SCT and other industry stakeholders and work to bring them on board to a new AFCA structure, which hopefully will pass today, for FOS and the CIO. The SCT themselves have admitted that their business model needs to change. They need to change their business model. They need more funding. They need more support. Surely there can be some common ground between a government that's been hell-bent on attacking the industry super industry and the stakeholders. The reason we're here today and are having this debate is that the government haven't been able to bring the super industry on board with this. I think it was the Greens who first put up our amendment and said to the government that we wouldn't support anything unless it had a review. Here we have in front of us a government review. I know One Nation have put up an amendment for a review as well, with some specific aspects that we would support. I understand the Nick Xenophon Team have put up a review. A review makes sense and, on that basis, the Greens will support this amendment.