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COMMITTEES—REFERENCES

Order of the day read for the adjourned debate on the motions of Senator Ellison—

No. 1—

 (1) That:

  (a) the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—Superannuation) Bill 2008 be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for inquiry and report; and

  (b) any related bill or bills that may be introduced to give effect to the recommendations of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's report Same Sex: Same Entitlements, dated May 2007, also be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for inquiry and report together with the following matters:

   (i) the definition of `couple relationship',

   (ii) empirical evidence from the states concerning the existence, recognition and relative numbers of interdependent relationships, other than de facto (whether heterosexual or same-sex) and marital relationships,

   (iii) whether the definition of `couple relationship' should be amended to incorporate other interdependent relationships and, if so, whether the definitions should be broadened to include those relationships or whether a separate definition is required,


   (iv) the fiscal implications of the statutory recognition of other interdependent relationships for superannuation and taxation purposes,

   (v) the definitions of `child' and `child of a couple relationship',

   (vi) the legal and fiscal implications of the definitions referred to in (v), particularly as they relate to the rights, obligations and liabilities of co-parents (i.e., the parent in a couple relationship that does not have a biological connection to a child of that relationship), and

   (vii) all other matters considered necessary by the committee.

 (2) That the committee is not to conclude its consideration of the matter contained in subparagraph (1)(a) until it has concluded its consideration of the matters in subparagraph (1)(b).

 (3) That the committee must hear evidence, inter alia, from:

  (a) the Attorney-General's Department;

  (b) the Department of Finance and Deregulation;

  (c) the Relationship Registries of Tasmania, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory;

  (d) the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission; and

  (e) the Law Council of Australia (Family Law Section).

No. 2—

 (1) That the Tax Laws Amendment (Medicare Levy Surcharge Thresholds) Bill 2008 be referred to the Economics Committee for inquiry and report not before 26 August 2008, together with the following matters:

  (a) the impact of changes to the thresholds on the number of Australians with private health insurance (PHI), including an examination of how many will abandon their policies as a result and how many will not take up PHI in the future;

  (b) the modelling underpinning the decision and the veracity of that modelling;

  (c) the anticipated impact on PHI premiums and PHI products offered;

 (d)  the impact of the change on the cost of living and the consumer price index;

 (e) the threshold, PHI rebate and lifetime health cover on increasing PHI membership; and

  (f) the anticipated impact of changes to the threshold on:

   (i) the public hospital system including waiting lists and the financial requirements of state governments,

   (ii) the ongoing viability of PHI, and

   (iii) private hospitals.

 (2) That the inquiry hear evidence in all capital cities and from, inter alia, the private health insurance sector about the impact of the measures in the bill on the industry and on the public hospital system.

No. 3—

 (1) That the National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical and Other Benefits—Cost Recovery) Bill 2008 be referred to the Community Affairs Committee for inquiry and report not before 18 August 2008, together with the following matters:


  (a) the impact of the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) cost recovery on:

   (i) patients' timely and affordable access to medicines,

   (ii) the Australian pharmaceutical industry,

   (iii) new products and innovation, and

   (iv) the independence of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee;

  (b) cost recovery mechanisms in other countries;

  (c) how cost recovery will improve the timeliness and effectiveness of the current PBS process for listing new medicines; and

  (d) the modelling and consultation underpinning the decision.

 (2) That, in conducting its inquiry, the committee hear evidence, inter alia, from the pharmaceutical industry, generic medicines industry, consumer and patient health groups, the Department of Health and Ageing, the PBS Evaluation Units and the Australian Medical Association and other medical bodies.

No. 4—

 (1) That the following bills:

   Tax Laws Amendment (Luxury Car Tax) Bill 2008

   A New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition—General) Amendment Bill 2008

   A New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition—Customs) Amendment Bill 2008 and

   A New Tax System (Luxury Car Tax Imposition—Excise) Amendment Bill 2008,

  be referred to the Economics Committee for inquiry and report not before 26 August 2008, together with the following matters:

  (a) the incidence of the luxury car tax (LCT) and the effect of the proposed increase in the LCT rate on rural and regional communities, small business families and tourism operators;

  (b) the effect of the LCT increase on the prices of vehicles, the affordability of motor vehicles, the cost of living, and the consumer price index (CPI);

  (c) the expected impact of the increase in the LCT rate on vehicle demand and the likely consequences for government revenues including from the LCT, goods and services tax (GST) and stamp duty;

  (d) the growing incidence of the LCT over time and the adequacy of current arrangements for indexation of the LCT threshold, in comparison with alternative measures including the CPI, average weekly earnings and the increase in the retail price of motor vehicles;

  (e) the rationale for taxing `luxury' cars at a higher rate than other goods and services;

  (f) the effect of the LCT and the proposed increase in the LCT rate on Australian vehicle manufacturers and vehicle importers and distributors;

  (g) the overall taxation burden on ownership and operation of motor vehicles including customs duty, GST, LCT, stamp duty and excise on fuel;


  (h) the effect of the LCT and the proposed increase in the LCT rate on the adoption of vehicle safety features and environmental technologies; and

  (i) the extent to which the LCT is viewed as a non-tariff barrier by other car exporting countries.

 (2) That:

  (a) as a minimum, the committee hold hearings in Melbourne and Adelaide and hear evidence, inter alia, from Australia's vehicle manufacturers, importers and distributors as well as from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the Australian Automobile Association, the Motor Trades Association of Australia, the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce, the Motor Trades Association of Queensland and the tourism industry; and

  (b) the committee also take into account submissions to, and recommendations of, the Bracks' Review of Australia's Automotive Industry.

No. 5—

 (1) That the Excise Legislation Amendment (Condensate) Bill 2008 and the Excise Tariff Amendment (Condensate) Bill 2008 be referred to the Economics Committee for inquiry and report not before 26 August 2008, together with the following matters:

  (a) the impact of the changes on retail prices of domestic gas and electricity in Western Australia, and any consequent effect on consumer prices;

  (b) the impact of the decision on the industry generally and on the exploration for petroleum products in Australia; and

  (c) the impact of the decision, and the decision-making process, on domestic and international investment confidence in Australia.

 (2) That the committee must conduct hearings in Western Australia and hear evidence from, inter alia, industry bodies and joint venture partners on the North West Shelf.

No. 6—

 (1) That the National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) Bill 2008 and the National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008 be referred to the Economics Committee for inquiry and report not before 29 September 2008, together with the following matters:

  (a) the impact of the proposed Fuelwatch scheme on the price consumers will pay for motor fuel (including unleaded petrol, diesel and LPG) in metropolitan areas, regional centres and rural Australia;

  (b) the economic benefits and costs of the proposed Fuelwatch scheme to consumers in metropolitan areas, regional centres and rural Australia;

  (c) other economic costs of the proposed Fuelwatch scheme, including the compliance costs of the scheme for industry, particularly independent retailers;

  (d) the impact of the proposed Fuelwatch scheme on competition between motor fuel retailers and the operation and viability of independent motor fuel retailers;

  (e) intraday price volatility in the retail market, established price cycles in each state and territory, and consumer awareness of price cycles;


  (f) the impact of Fuelwatch on discounting, as well as the amplitude and duration of price cycles, including any penalties that will apply to motor fuel retailers for not fixing prices for 24 hour periods;

  (g) the potential use under the Fuelwatch scheme of sophisticated pricing strategies by motor fuel retailers who have more than one retail outlet, and how they may take advantage of the 24 hour rule;

  (h) independent analysis of the overall economic benefits and costs of the proposed Fuelwatch scheme;

  (i) independent analysis of the differences in motor fuel prices between Western Australia and other Australian states and territories, with particular reference to volumetric or consumption-weighted prices; and

  (j) the legal basis for the legislation.

 (2) That, in conducting its inquiry, the committee:

  (a) hear evidence in all capital cities and in such major rural and regional centres as may be determined by the committee; and

  (b) hear evidence, inter alia, from independent retailers, motoring bodies with knowledge of the retail motor fuel market, business organisations with an interest in motor fuel prices and independent think tanks and economists who have knowledge of retail pricing arrangements in the motor fuel industry.

No. 7—That the provisions of Schedules 1 and 2 of the Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 3) Bill 2008 be referred to the Economics Committee for inquiry and report not before 18 August 2008.

No. 8—That the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Political Donations and Other Measures) Bill 2008 be referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters for inquiry and report on 30 June 2009 in conjunction with the committee's inquiry into the 2007 Federal Election.

—and on the amendments moved by Senators Bartlett and Nettle in respect of motion no. 1—

 At the end of subparagraph (1)(a), add "by 24 June 2008".

 Omit paragraph (2).

Debate resumed.

The question was divided—

Question—That the amendments in respect of motion no. 1 be agreed to—put.

The Senate divided—

AYES,30


Senators—
AllisonEvansMcLucasSiewert
BartlettForshawMilneStephens
BishopHoggMooreSterle
Brown, BobHurleyMurrayStott Despoja
Brown, CarolKirkNettleWebber (Teller)
CampbellLundyO'BrienWortley
CollinsMarshallPolley
CrossinMcEwenSherry

NOES, 35



Senators—
AbetzChapmanFifieldParry (Teller)
AdamsColbeckFisherPatterson
BarnettCoonanJohnstonPayne
BernardiCormannKempRonaldson
BirminghamEgglestonMacdonald, IanScullion
BoswellEllisonMacdonald, SandyTroeth
BoyceFergusonMasonTrood
BrandisFieldingMcGauranWatson
BushbyFierravanti-WellsMinchin

Question negatived.

Senator Parry moved the following amendment in respect of motion no. 1:

 Omit paragraph (2), substitute:

 (2) That the committee is to report on 30 September 2008 or after the consideration of any related bills mentioned in paragraph (1)(b), whichever is the sooner.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and passed.

Question—That motion no. 1, as amended, be agreed to—put.

The Senate divided—

AYES,35


Senators—
AbetzChapmanFifieldParry (Teller)
AdamsColbeckFisherPatterson
BarnettCoonanJohnstonPayne
BernardiCormannKempRonaldson
BirminghamEgglestonMacdonald, IanScullion
BoswellEllisonMacdonald, SandyTroeth
BoyceFergusonMasonTrood
BrandisFieldingMcGauranWatson
BushbyFierravanti-WellsMinchin

NOES, 31


Senators—
AllisonEvansMcEwenSherry
BartlettForshawMcLucasSiewert
BishopHoggMilneStephens
Brown, BobHurleyMooreSterle
Brown, CarolHutchinsMurrayStott Despoja
CampbellKirkNettleWebber (Teller)
CollinsLundyO'BrienWortley
CrossinMarshallPolley

Question agreed to.

Question—That motion no. 2 be agreed to—put.


The Senate divided—

AYES,35


Senators—
AbetzChapmanFifieldParry (Teller)
AdamsColbeckFisherPatterson
BarnettCoonanJohnstonPayne
BernardiCormannKempRonaldson
BirminghamEgglestonMacdonald, IanScullion
BoswellEllisonMacdonald, SandyTroeth
BoyceFergusonMasonTrood
BrandisFieldingMcGauranWatson
BushbyFierravanti-WellsMinchin

NOES, 31


Senators—
AllisonEvansMcEwenSherry
BartlettForshawMcLucasSiewert
BishopHoggMilneStephens
Brown, BobHurleyMooreSterle
Brown, CarolHutchinsMurrayStott Despoja
CampbellKirkNettleWebber (Teller)
CollinsLundyO'BrienWortley
CrossinMarshallPolley

Question agreed to.

Question—That motion no. 3 be agreed to—put.

The Senate divided—

AYES,39


Senators—
AbetzBushbyFifieldParry (Teller)
AdamsChapmanFisherPatterson
AllisonColbeckJohnstonPayne
BarnettCoonanKempRonaldson
BartlettCormannMacdonald, IanScullion
BernardiEgglestonMacdonald, SandyStott Despoja
BirminghamEllisonMasonTroeth
BoswellFergusonMcGauranTrood
BoyceFieldingMinchinWatson
BrandisFierravanti-WellsMurray

NOES, 27


Senators—
BishopForshawMcEwenSherry
Brown, BobHoggMcLucasSiewert
Brown, CarolHurleyMilneStephens
CampbellHutchinsMooreSterle
CollinsKirkNettleWebber (Teller)
CrossinLundyO'BrienWortley
EvansMarshallPolley

Question agreed to.

Question—That motion no. 4 be agreed to—put.


The Senate divided—

AYES,39


Senators—
AbetzBushbyFifieldParry (Teller)
AdamsChapmanFisherPatterson
AllisonColbeckJohnstonPayne
BarnettCoonanKempRonaldson
BartlettCormannMacdonald, IanScullion
BernardiEgglestonMacdonald, SandyStott Despoja
BirminghamEllisonMasonTroeth
BoswellFergusonMcGauranTrood
BoyceFieldingMinchinWatson
BrandisFierravanti-WellsMurray

NOES, 27


Senators—
BishopForshawMcEwenSherry
Brown, BobHoggMcLucasSiewert
Brown, CarolHurleyMilneStephens
CampbellHutchinsMooreSterle
CollinsKirkNettleWebber (Teller)
CrossinLundyO'BrienWortley
EvansMarshallPolley

Question agreed to.

Question—That motion no. 5 be agreed to—put.

The Senate divided—

AYES,39


Senators—
AbetzBushbyFifieldParry (Teller)
AdamsChapmanFisherPatterson
AllisonColbeckJohnstonPayne
BarnettCoonanKempRonaldson
BartlettCormannMacdonald, IanScullion
BernardiEgglestonMacdonald, SandyStott Despoja
BirminghamEllisonMasonTroeth
BoswellFergusonMcGauranTrood
BoyceFieldingMinchinWatson
BrandisFierravanti-WellsMurray

NOES, 27


Senators—
BishopForshawMcEwenSherry
Brown, BobHoggMcLucasSiewert
Brown, CarolHurleyMilneStephens
CampbellHutchinsMooreSterle
CollinsKirkNettleWebber (Teller)
CrossinLundyO'BrienWortley
EvansMarshallPolley

Question agreed to.

Question—That motion no. 6 be agreed to—put.


The Senate divided—

AYES,43


Senators—
AbetzBushbyFisherParry (Teller)
AdamsChapmanJohnstonPatterson
AllisonColbeckKempPayne
BarnettCoonanMacdonald, IanRonaldson
BartlettCormannMacdonald, SandyScullion
BernardiEgglestonMasonSiewert
BirminghamEllisonMcGauranStott Despoja
BoswellFergusonMilneTroeth
BoyceFieldingMinchinTrood
BrandisFierravanti-WellsMurrayWatson
Brown, BobFifieldNettle

NOES, 23


Senators—
BishopForshawMarshallSherry
Brown, CarolHoggMcEwenStephens
CampbellHurleyMcLucasSterle
CollinsHutchinsMooreWebber (Teller)
CrossinKirkO'BrienWortley
EvansLundyPolley

Question agreed to.

Question—That motion no. 7 be agreed to—put.

The Senate divided—

AYES,39


Senators—
AbetzBushbyFifieldParry (Teller)
AdamsChapmanFisherPatterson
AllisonColbeckJohnstonPayne
BarnettCoonanKempRonaldson
BartlettCormannMacdonald, IanScullion
BernardiEgglestonMacdonald, SandyStott Despoja
BirminghamEllisonMasonTroeth
BoswellFergusonMcGauranTrood
BoyceFieldingMinchinWatson
BrandisFierravanti-WellsMurray

NOES, 27


Senators—
BishopForshawMcEwenSherry
Brown, BobHoggMcLucasSiewert
Brown, CarolHurleyMilneStephens
CampbellHutchinsMooreSterle
CollinsKirkNettleWebber (Teller)
CrossinLundyO'BrienWortley
EvansMarshallPolley

Question agreed to.

The Leader of the Family First Party (Senator Fielding), by leave, moved the following amendment in respect of motion no. 8:

 Omit "on 30 June 2009", substitute "before November 2008".

Debate ensued.


Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and negatived. All Australian Greens senators, by leave, recorded their votes for the ayes.

Question—That motion no. 8 be agreed to—put.

The Senate divided—

AYES,34


Senators—
AbetzChapmanFisherPatterson
AdamsColbeckJohnstonPayne
BarnettCoonanKempRonaldson
BernardiCormannMacdonald, IanScullion
BirminghamEgglestonMacdonald, SandyTroeth
BoswellEllisonMasonTrood
BoyceFergusonMcGauranWatson
BrandisFierravanti-WellsMinchin
BushbyFifieldParry (Teller)

NOES, 32


Senators—
AllisonEvansMarshallPolley
BartlettFieldingMcEwenSherry
BishopForshawMcLucasSiewert
Brown, BobHoggMilneStephens
Brown, CarolHurleyMooreSterle
CampbellHutchinsMurrayStott Despoja
CollinsKirkNettleWebber (Teller)
CrossinLundyO'BrienWortley

Question agreed to.