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Superannuation surcharge.

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Minister for Finance and Administration





Today’s article in “The Australian” about the superannuation surcharge legislation refers to correspondence between a Queensland Labor Senator and Mr Fahey, in his capacity as the Presiding Member of the Parliamentary Retiring Allowances Trust.


Mr Fahey’s reply addressed the Senator’s concerns about the Trust’s fiduciary responsibilities in relation to surcharge assessments issued by the Tax Office.


The Government considers the surcharge legislation is constitutional. Like all legislation, the constitutional validity of the surcharge legislation was considered by the Attorney General’s Department prior to its introduction into Parliament arid the Department was satisfied as to its constitutional validity.


However in order to fully respond to the concerns raised by the Senator, legal advice was also obtained as to whether the Trust was obliged to object to the surcharge assessments given a hypothetical successful challenge to the surcharge legislation.


The advice found the Trust’s responsibility was to comply with the legislation and that the legislation must be presumed to be valid, unless proven otherwise. This advice was provided to the Trust members (comprising two non-Government members and two Government members).


This was also the basis of the response to the Queensland Labor Senator.


To produce a “Fahey admits legal doubt on super tax” interpretation of this correspondence, as taken by ‘The Australian’ , displays a breath-taking lack of objectivity.


25 September 1998


Media contact: David McLachlan 0419 698 872