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Friday, 6 December 1985
Page: 3184


Senator SHORT —by leave-Like Senator Coates, I have not had time to examine the Government's response fully, but my attention has been drawn to page 3 of the document Senator Walsh has tabled where there is criticism of the Opposition for having opposed the superannuation Bill. According to Senator Walsh, the Opposition is therefore disadvantaging 308,000 Commonwealth employees. On behalf of the Opposition I rebut that in the strongest possible terms. It is correct that the Opposition, with support from the Australian Democrats, voted against the Superannuation Amendment Bill for one reason and one reason only and that was in relation to the revised membership proposals of the Superannuation Fund Investment Trust. We agreed with every other proposition that was put forward by the Government, including the propositions that lead to a significant improvement in the Trust and its benefits for contributors.

Had the Government been fair dinkum about wanting to help these 308,000 contributors it had a very simple expedient. It could have done all that while at the same time having another look, as we asked to be done, at the membership of the Trust. The reason why we objected to the Government's proposal to have five trustees was that four of those five trustees would either be Australian Council of Trade Union appointees or ACTU-involved appointees. Given the fact that less than 50 per cent of the contributors of the Trust are members of unions with the ACTU we objected to the proposal, as did many of the contributors. I want to set that record straight.