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Thursday, 14 February 2019
Page: 10347


Senator O'NEILL (New South Wales) (19:04): by leave—I move the opposition's amendments (1) to (34) on sheet 8501 together:

(1) Schedule 2, page 10 (before line 5), before item 1, insert:

1A Subsection 10(1) (after paragraph (h) of the definition of reviewable decision )

Insert:

(haa) a decision of the Regulator refusing to make a declaration under section 68AADC; or

(2) Schedule 2, item 1, page 10 (line 14), omit "13", substitute "16".

(3) Schedule 2, item 1, page 10 (line 19), omit "13", substitute "16".

(4) Schedule 2, item 1, page 10 (line 28), omit "13", substitute "16".

(5) Schedule 2, item 1, page 11 (line 8), omit "13", substitute "16".

(6) Schedule 2, item 1, page 11 (line 11), omit "13", substitute "16".

(7) Schedule 2, item 1, page 12 (line 14), omit "1 April", substitute "1 October".

(8) Schedule 2, item 1, page 14 (after line 28), after section 68AAD, insert:

68AADA Sections 68AAB and 68AAC do not apply if section 68AADC declaration in force

Sections 68AAB and 68AAC do not apply in relation to a kind of member of a regulated superannuation fund if a section 68AADC declaration specifying that kind of member of the fund is in force.

68AADB Application for section 68AADC declaration

(1) A trustee of a regulated superannuation fund may apply to the Regulator for a written declaration that sections 68AAB and 68AAC do not apply in relation to a specified kind of member of the fund.

(2) The application must:

(a) be in writing; and

(b) be in a form approved, in writing, by the Regulator.

68AADC Declaration that sections 68AAB and 68AAC do not apply

(1) On receiving an application under section 68AADB for a written declaration that sections 68AAB and 68AAC do not apply in relation to a specified kind of member of a regulated superannuation fund, the Regulator must decide:

(a) to make the declaration; or

(b) to refuse to make the declaration.

(2) The Regulator must not make the declaration unless the Regulator is satisfied that if the fund were to provide a benefit to, or in respect of, a member of the specified kind under a choice product or MySuper product held by the member by taking out or maintaining insurance, doing so would:

(a) be consistent with the fund's insurance management framework (however described); and

(b) not unreasonably erode the retirement savings of a member of that kind; and

(c) either:

(i) represent exceptionally good value for money for a member of that kind; or

(ii) meet a need for insurance of a member of that kind, having regard to the matters specified in subsection (3).

(3) The following matters are specified for the purposes of subparagraph (2)(c)(ii):

(a) the level of workplace, occupational or other risk faced by a member of that kind;

(b) the extent and nature of the financial commitments, including commitments to dependents, of a member of that kind;

(c) any other matter advanced by the applicant consistently with the fund's obligations to its members.

(4) If the Regulator decides to refuse to make the declaration, the Regulator must give the applicant a written notice setting out the decision and the reasons for it.

(5) A declaration made under subsection (1) is not a legislative instrument.

(9) Schedule 2, item 3, page 16 (line 4), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 January 2020".

(10) Schedule 2, item 3, page 16 (line 14), omit "1 April", substitute "1 October".

(11) Schedule 2, item 3, page 16 (line 18), omit "1 May", substitute "1 November".

(12) Schedule 2, item 3, page 16 (line 22), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 January 2020".

(13) Schedule 2, item 3, page 16 (line 25), omit "13", substitute "16".

(14) Schedule 2, item 3, page 16 (line 33), omit "13", substitute "16".

(15) Schedule 2, item 3, page 17 (line 11), omit "1 April", substitute "1 October".

(16) Schedule 2, item 4, page 17 (line 26), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 January 2020".

(17) Schedule 2, item 4, page 17 (line 28), omit "1April", substitute "1October".

(18) Schedule 2, item 4, page 17 (line 32), omit "1 April", substitute "1 October".

(19) Schedule 2, item 4, page 18 (line 1), omit "1 May", substitute "1 November".

(20) Schedule 2, item 4, page 18 (line 5), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 January 2020".

(21) Schedule 2, item 4, page 18 (line 10), omit "1 April", substitute "1 October".

(22) Schedule 2, item 4, page 18 (line 28), omit "1 April", substitute "1 October".

(23) Schedule 2, item 4, page 19 (line 5), omit "1April", substitute "1October".

(24) Schedule 2, item 4, page 19 (line 9), omit "1 April", substitute "1 October".

(25) Schedule 2, item 4, page 19 (line 12), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 January 2020".

(26) Schedule 2, item 4, page 19 (line 15), omit "1 April", substitute "1 October".

(27) Schedule 2, item 5, page 19 (lines 34 and 35), omit "1 July 2019", substitute "1 January 2020".

(28) Schedule 3, item 21, page 25 (lines 12 and 13), omit the definition of inactive low-balance account in section 8, substitute:

inactive low - balance account: see subsections 20QA(1) and (1A).

(29) Schedule 3, item 30, page 27 (line 13), omit "13", substitute "16".

(30) Schedule 3, item 30, page 28 (line 2), omit "13", substitute "16".

(31) Schedule 3, item 30, page 28 (after line 15), after subsection 20QA(1), insert:

(1A) However, an account in a fund that is a regulated superannuation fund is taken not to be an inactive low-balance account if:

(a) the account is held on behalf of a member of the fund; and

(b) any of the following occurred in relation to the member in the last 16 months:

(i) the member changed the member's investment options under the fund;

(ii) the member made changes in relation to the member's insurance coverage under the fund;

(iii) the member made or amended a binding beneficiary nomination;

(iv) the member, by written notice given to the Regulator, declared that the member was not a member of an inactive low-balance account;

(v) the superannuation provider was owed an amount in respect of the member.

(32) Schedule 3, item 32, page 42 (line 19), after "must", insert ", within 28 days of becoming satisfied as mentioned in paragraph (1)(b),".

(33) Schedule 3, item 32, page 42 (lines 27 to 29), omit paragraph 24NA(2)(d).

(34) Schedule 3, item 32, page 42 (line 34), omit "(c), (d) and (e)", substitute "(c) and (e)".

I'm a little at a loss for words, given the amazing change that we've seen from this government in the last few hours. We had a contribution from Senator Hume, who described herself just before lunchtime as a person worthy of making a considerable contribution to what's going on in this debate because of her experience as part of the superannuation sector. It's a big sector. It's grown to be a big sector because the Australian Labor Party envisioned a retirement savings structure for Australians. We instituted it. We've made sure that it's been protected. We've looked after it and protected it from the actions of this government opposite.

What we're seeing tonight from this government is an absolutely disgraceful response to the reality that faces Australians under the type of government it's offering us—the chaotic, dysfunctional, out-of-touch government that we have come to know and expect here, sadly, every single day. At lunchtime today, we had the Deputy Government Whip in the Senate saying that she worked in superannuation for almost all of her professional career before coming to the Senate. She worked in retail and industry superannuation funds and she thinks that that gave her a unique perspective on superannuation—its intricacies, complexities and vagaries. But what we see here tonight with this government is that it's decided to gut its own bill. Responsible governments who undertake negotiations in good faith with a sector as large as the superannuation sector should do what they say they're going to do.

The amendments that we have moved here this evening were composed in the context of honest, careful conversations with the sector. Our amendments seek to address the government's proposed very blunt removal of default insurance for large groups of Australians. That was their view. In its current form, the bill risks leaving younger members and lower income earners, predominantly women, without adequate insurance cover. That's why Labor have advanced these amendments. Our amendments were carefully considered. They were advanced in consultation. They haven't been changed at the last minute, which is what we've seen from the government. We know that the government simply don't understand the reality of hardworking Australians. They don't accept and respect the responsibility of government and they've failed the Australian people by what they've done here this evening.