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Wednesday, 26 May 1993
Page: 1304


Senator ALSTON (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (11.39 a.m.) —by leave—I move:

  (1)That if by the last day of the 1993 autumn sittings agreement is not reached concerning the chair and deputy chair of the Select Committee on Superannuation in accordance with paragraph (6) of the resolution of the Senate of 13 May 1993 reappointing the committee, Senator Watson shall be the chair and the deputy chair shall be a Government Senator elected by the committee.

  (2)That, if a member of the committee notifies the chair that the member wishes to be discharged from the committee, the Leader of the party to which that member belongs may appoint a Senator to the committee to replace that member.

  (3)That paragraph (2) of this resolution cease to have effect on the first day of sitting of August 1993.

Very briefly, the principal purpose of bringing the motion on at this time is to ensure that there is continuity in the operations of the Senate Select Committee on Superannuation. The committee has now been in place for more than three years and has performed outstanding work under the chairmanship of Senator Sherry. From this point on, I am sure it will continue to perform equally outstanding work under the direction of Senator Watson.

  It is very important indeed that the community have a reference point on an issue as important as superannuation on both sides of the chamber. It is broadly the responsibility of the Treasurer (Mr Dawkins), but the industry itself does look, and has been looking, to the committee for guidance. Richard Gilbert has provided excellent secretarial services to that committee. I believe that the committee now has great stature in the community and that it will be a very important means of ensuring that a number of major outstanding issues are properly exposed and debated in a sensible and considered way, so that there are opportunities for the industry to have its points of view put in public and in private.

  I am, therefore, particularly delighted to have the opportunity to formally move that Senator Watson be appointed the chairman of that committee. Having served with him over the last several years, there is no doubt that he is one of the very few in this Parliament who have a very good understanding of the very complex issues attaching to superannuation. His expertise in the area of taxation goes back even further, and I think the combination is such that the superannuation and insurance industries will greatly welcome not only the continuation of the committee but also the presence of Senator Watson in particular. I am therefore delighted to be able to move the motion.