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Wednesday, 9 May 1984
Page: 1817

Senator CHANEY —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I refer to the Minister's answer to Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle on Tuesday of last week in which he denied that the Government was deferring its proposals to increase the tax on lump sum superannuation payments. I remind the Minister that, in responding to Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle, he promised an announcement 'very soon', to quote his words. Is it a fact that the Government still has not finalised the legislation which for a year has been hanging over the heads of Australians approaching retirement age? Will the Government now admit that its hasty and ill-conceived mini-Budget decision was a mistake and abandon plans to change the taxation arrangements? If not, when will the legislation be brought into the Parliament so that the people of Australia will know clearly what the Government has in mind for them?

Senator WALSH —I do not have the Hansard in front of me, but I do not think I promised Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle an announcement. I said that I expected there would be an announcement by the end of this week.

Senator Chaney —That was last week.

Senator WALSH —Yes. Last week I said that I expected, if I remember correctly, that there would be an announcement by the end of this week.

Senator Chaney —You used the words 'very soon'.

Senator WALSH —The end of this week is what I had in mind. Whether there will be an announcement by the end of this week, I am not sure. I will contact the Treasurer about that. As of the last time I spoke to the Treasurer about the legislation, it had not been finalised and discussions were proceeding about a couple of matters. On the final part of the question, no, the Government does not have any intention of abandoning that legislation. Naturally I do not agree with Senator Chaney's assertion that the decision was ill-conceived.

Senator CHANEY —Mr President, I have a supplementary question. Will the Minister give an undertaking that the legislation will be introduced before the next election?

Senator WALSH —It is not in my control. I expect it will be. I expect it will be introduced before the end of this autumn session.