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Wednesday, 13 June 1984
Page: 2899

Senator JACK EVANS(11.22) —I raise two points which have been represented to me on this legislation. The first is to do with defence forces and the defence force retirement benefit scheme. The second is to do with airline pilots. I will speak to the second point first. The problem of the airline pilots, who have some possible difficulties as a result of this legislation, have been canvassed around this country for quite some time. I have been making representations on their behalf for several months. I sat with their representatives and put to them a proposal which they seemed to find favourable. That was put to the Government and, I believe, was part of the Government's consideration in changing the formula for the sharing of the superannuation tax arrangement.

I now tell honourable senators that I am not representing the airline pilots in this debate in this chamber because I refuse to represent a body which holds a gun at my head or at the head of the Senate during the processes of a debate, the gun being levelled not only at those senators who are deliberating today but at our constituents, the people of Australia, simply to put pressure on the Senate. I find that to be a reprehensible act. I will not respond to it. I wash my hands of any representations of that body while the airline pilots take actions of that sort.

Senator Messner —Irrespective of the merit.

Senator JACK EVANS —I continue to uphold the issue and the merit, but I will not represent the airline pilots in this chamber while they are causing industrial disorder.

The other matter that I draw to the attention of the Minister for Resources and Energy (Senator Walsh) is the anomaly which seems to come about because of commutations of Defence Force retirement benefit funds, commutations which come under a superannuation provision and which should be treated separately. The matter was raised during the second reading debate and there was no response to that issue at the time. Just to put it into perspective, I would like the Minister to take on board the fact that under the arrangements members of the Defence Force are allowed to retire at 45 years of age, but under this new legislation they will be taxed at 30 per cent. I understand that Defence Force members are allowed that commutation because of the special provisions relating to their service.

I indicated last night that I felt that rather than move amendments to this legislation it would be more appropriate for the Government to make special provisions under separate legislation for this particular fund. I ask: Will the Minister accept that there is such a need? Will the Government prepare legislative changes to provide for members of the Defence Force to retire and not be harshly taxed as a result of this legislation, which has entirely different objectives I am sure from picking up Defence Force service personnel at the time that they retire at 45 years of age or shortly thereafter?