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Thursday, 1 June 1995
Page: 840

Mr TICKNER (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs) (10.35 a.m.) —in reply—The Superannuation Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 1995 contains technical amendments and what we have seen in the course of the debate are very substantial contributions on broader policy questions, firstly from the member for Bradfield (Mr Connolly) and then from the member for Curtin (Mr Rocher). I say in respect of both these honourable gentleman that, while we on this side of the House strongly disagree with their views on superannuation policy, they are acknowledged by us to be the public face of the coalition in this area.

  They have probably worked harder and longer for the coalition in relation to superannuation policy than any other member. The member for Bradfield, the member for Curtin and the government agree that superannuation policy is one of the most important matters of public policy in this country. It is of enormous significance to men and women, not just those reaching retirement age but all Australians who must one day cross that threshold to retirement.

  When the history books record the milestones in superannuation policy of the Commonwealth of Australia, they will see that the time of the Keating government has been an unprecedented time of enormous change. The policy settings have been put in place to take this country through into the next century. The government has not only made sweeping reforms to extend accessibility to superannuation but also put in place a supervisory and prudential regime which we believe safeguards the benefits and rights of superannuation schemes.

  As the member for Curtin has moved from the back bench of the parliament to the Deputy Speaker's chair, I say in respect of him, as I said in respect of the member for Bradfield, that the government recognises the contribution that he and the member for Bradfield make on superannuation policy development. The tragedy is that both the member for Bradfield and the member for Curtin will be experiencing a superannuation policy of a different kind having been quite unfairly and, I think many of us on this side of the House believe, unjustly removed in preselection.

  That means that on the coalition side there will be a complete void of expertise, knowledge and understanding in relation to superannuation policy. It means that the government really does not have any longer what we would call worthy opponents in debate. It is unfortunate for the coalition.

Mr Connolly —I'm still here.

Mr TICKNER —Indeed the member for Bradfield is still here, but he will not be after the next election. That absence of expertise on superannuation policy in the coalition on an ongoing basis I think will mean another gigantic policy problem for the coalition. These are technical amendments and we hope that they will enjoy the support of the House. I could not help but make some comments about the member for Bradfield and you, Mr Deputy Speaker, and the consequences for the coalition of your very unfortunate demise.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.

  Bill read a second time.

  Messages from the Governor-General recommending appropriations announced.