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STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
05/07/2007
Superannuation Legislation Amendment Bill 2007
STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
Senate committee
Thursday, 5 July 2007
Superannuation Legislation Amendment Bill 2007
Final

CHAIR (Senator Fifield) —I declare open this meeting of the Senate Finance and Public Administration’s Standing Committee. This hearing is for the committee’s inquiry into the provisions of the Superannuation Legislation Amendment Bill 2007, which the Senate referred to the committee on 21 June 2007 for report by 27 July 2007. The bill seeks to amend the law relating to civilian and military superannuation schemes and in particular align certain superannuation entitlements for Commonwealth employees with those of the broader community. The committee has received six submissions for this inquiry. All submissions have been authorised for publication and will be available on the committee’s website.

These are public proceedings although the committee may agree to a request to have evidence heard in camera or may determine that certain evidence should be heard in camera. I remind all witnesses that in giving evidence to the committee they are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee, and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee. If a witness objects to answering a question, the witness should state the ground upon which the objection is taken and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer, having regard to the ground which is claimed. If the committee determines to insist on an answer, a witness may request that the answer be given in camera. Such a request may of course also be made at any other time. The Senate has resolved that an officer of a department of the Commonwealth or of a state shall not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy and shall be given reasonable opportunity to refer questions asked of the officer to superior officers or to a minister. This resolution prohibits only questions asking for opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policies or factual questions about when and how policies were adopted. Before I welcome our witnesses, I would first like to welcome Senator Cormann to his first hearing of this committee. Also, Senator Fierravanti-Wells wishes to make a statement in relation to an interest.

Senator FIERRAVANTI-WELLS —Thank you, Chair. For the record I would like to state that prior to becoming a senator I was employed with the Australian Government Solicitor and I retain a benefit in the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme. In addition, my husband, a former serving naval officer, contributed to the DFRDB scheme. He currently receives a pension under that scheme.

[12.02 pm]