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MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE—TAXATION LAWS AMENDMENT (BABY BONUS) BILL 2002

Message No. 32, 21 March 2002, from the Senate was reported returning the Taxation Laws Amendment (Baby Bonus) Bill 2002 with an amendment.

Ordered—That the amendment be considered forthwith.

On the motion of Mr Slipper (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration), the amendment was disagreed to, after debate.

Mr Slipper presented reasons, which were circulated, and are as follows:

Reasons of the House of Representatives for disagreeing to the amendment of the Senate

Senate Amendment 1

This amendment by the Democrats seeks to cause a review of the operation of the First Child Tax Refund, or Baby Bonus. This review is to be undertaken jointly by the Departments of Employment and Workplace Relations and the Treasury and is to be tabled in both Houses of the Parliament by the end of the 2005 financial year. This adds nothing to the policy intent behind the Baby Bonus, but instead adds to the complexity of its administration.

The Labor Party's support for this amendment is contrary to an agreement with the Government that the proposed Democrat amendments would not be agreed to. However, the Government understands this was a result of a communication breakdown in the Opposition.

The House welcomes the Labor Party's subsequent agreement to the House opposing the amendment. The House also seeks an indication from the Opposition that they will not be insisting on the amendment in the other place.

This will allow the Australian Taxation Office to proceed with the documentation and the administration of the Baby Bonus on the basis that the Bill will not be amended.

A delay in the passage of this Bill would jeopardise the effective communication of the benefits of the Baby Bonus to families. Any delay will not be of the Government's doing.

For these reasons the House opposes the amendment.

On the motion of Mr Slipper, the reasons were adopted.