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Wednesday, 3 June 1987
Page: 3854

Mr BLUNT(10.22) —I just want briefly to make some remarks in response to the comments made by the Minister. He suggested that the Government would be prepared to include the Life Underwriters Association of Australia Ltd and that by some oversight it had been excluded from consultation. My friend and colleague the honourable member for Parkes (Mr Cobb), who like me is very interested in these issues, has made reference to the Association. I have a copy of the letter that the Life Underwriters Association wrote to the Treasurer (Mr Keating) on 25 March 1987. It states:

Dear Treasurer,

The Life Underwriters Association of Australia Ltd has noted from your Press Release No. 9 of 9 February . . .

Of course, we all realise these days that, if we are to work out what the Government is likely to do, we have to read the Press releases because we would not get a clue from anything else. The Government responds to group pressure these days, and Press releases are the best indication of the Government's legislative intention. The letter also stated:

The LUAA is a national organisation representing over 4,000 professional agents engaged in the Super- annuation, Life and Disability Insurance market.

To fully complement the membership of the Committee-

that is, the superannuation consultative committee-

we respectfully suggest that one representative be appointed from the Life Underwriters Association of Australia Ltd.

That is a reasonable request from a very significant industry group. The Government would have the Parliament believe that this legislation has the unanimous support of the industry. That is a long way from the truth. The industry has a number of diverse opinions. We have all received large volumes of correspondence from various actuaries, superannuation consultants and specialists throughout Australia. Messrs Mercer, Campbell, Cook and Knight have been particularly active in this area. I have received correspondence from a number of firms of solicitors and accountants. We have even had calls from the employees of the Office of the Commissioner for Superannuation expressing views contrary to those contained in the legislation and providing the Opposition parties with background briefing on this legislation.

This is very important legislation. It should not be rushed through the Parliament. I am very pleased that this Bill will lapse because it will not be dealt with in the Senate. The Government's approach to it is reprehensible. We are dealing with the life savings of thousands of Australians. We have no idea from the legislation before us today exactly what is the Government's intention in so very many important areas.