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Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Page: 6930


Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (09:59): Mr Chair, I draw your attention to the Greens' second amendment on sheet 7763, on schedule 2. It is the significant amendment here, and so I suggest that it be dealt with first. The Greens oppose schedule 2 in the following terms:

(2) Schedule 2, page 8 (lines 1 to 11), to be opposed.

This is an issue that I did cover in the second reading debate. It addresses the issue of overseas employment. Effectively, it would remove the exemption for some, but not all, overseas employees. This is where I do request clarification from the minister, because from my reading of the bill the tax exemptions would be retained for workers in private NGOs, the Australian Federal Police and the military. While the Greens can see merit in having consistency in our tax laws, why is there this inconsistency in this piece of legislation?

When you look at it it looks as though this is just one small aspect, but it appears that it could be quite significant. It certainly looks as though it is buried in there, that we have this measure that really does create a two-tier system. It penalises workers who choose to work for the government in delivering overseas development assistance. And this is my direct question that I put to the minister: is it the case that workers in private NGOs, the Australian Federal Police and the military will retain their tax exemption status? And why should not all government employees, or all employees who are working under overseas development systems, be treated in the same way?