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Wednesday, 27 June 2001
Page: 28751

Mr FAHEY (Minister for Finance and Administration) (6:39 PM) —I will respond immediately to the question put by the honourable member for Calare: it does apply to members of parliament. The honourable member is referring to the lump sum that was passed in legislation in 1999. For those who were born after the date in 1964, it is phased in over a period of years and ultimately concludes, I think, in 2025 at age 60. That is applicable only to lump sum, and it does apply to members of parliament, as it applies to the rest of the community. So, as I had it explained to me, there is consistency there, and nothing in this legislation interferes with the consistency of what was passed in 1999. Pension is available at the age of 55, and that is what this bill is really about—pension only at age 55. Again, the government does not intend to support these amendments.

I should probably indicate that I did not respond as I said I would at the end of the second reading stage to a matter raised at the second reading stage and the amendment moved at that point to delay the consideration of this bill until such time as the committee reported in the Senate. Again, I undertake to the honourable member that anything that comes out of the committee's report will be considered by the government and by me personally. I think it is important, though, after all the debate on this issue over all the years, that we do move towards the alignment of the major issue that the community talks about, and that is the age 55 vesting of the pension, and that is the purpose of this bill. Again, I indicate that the government cannot support these amendments.

Amendments negatived, Mr Andren dissenting.

Bill agreed to.