The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (16:11): I rise on behalf of the Liberal Party to support the second reading of the Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Superannuation) Bill 2012. As the member for Davenport outlined at some length in another place, the bill covers a range of issues. I do not propose to go into all the detail that he did on behalf of the Liberal Party in indicating our support for those particular provisions of the second reading of this legislation. Suffice to summarise that in a number of areas the bill seeks to repeal parts of our legislation which are now superfluous as a result of decisions that the commonwealth has taken, particularly in relation to family law provisions.
It also repeals the state’s Unclaimed Superannuation Benefits Act because the commonwealth government has again taken initiatives at the national level that all these unclaimed super moneys will be collected centrally by the Australian Tax Office. There are then a range of other technical provisions relating to the Triple S superannuation scheme for public sector workers, particularly in relation to interpretive rulings on allowances, over-award payments and payments made in lieu of leave being considered as ordinary time earnings. Then there are series of amendments, some of which relate to the election provisions for election of representatives to the Super SA board and the Funds SA board of directors, and regulation-making powers in relation to lost members in those particular ballots.
In all of those areas the member for Davenport has indicated that the Liberal Party is supporting the government’s proposals outlined in the bill before us. The one controversial issue, and I think the only issue upon which the member for Davenport and indeed I have received any correspondence about, has been those sections of the legislation which relate to the Electricity Industry Superannuation Scheme (EISS). Those few avid readers of Hansard will note that I have the world’s longest notice of motion in private members’ business for the establishment of an—
The Hon. M. Parnell: Is that a challenge?
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: That is a challenge to the Hon. Mr Parnell. It comprehensively beats anything he has ever done in terms of length of a notice of motion. I claim no credit for it at all. The member for Davenport in association with those activists who have lobbied strongly on behalf of this issue have drafted the notice of motion, and I filed the notice of motion on their behalf.
During that debate, I outlined the reasons for the disputation and the controversy about these particular provisions. Subject to a discussion with the member for Davenport, I will advise members that we will be seeking a vote on the next Wednesday of sitting on establishing the Ombudsman’s inquiry.
Without again going into the detail—as I said, I can refer the few avid readers of Hansard to my brief comments during that particular debate, when I introduced that motion—essentially, what is now being agreed to by the government and the opposition, at least in part, is that the potentially controversial elements of this bill will be removed by the government’s own amendments; that is, the government will move amendments during the committee stage to remove provisions in the bill that relate to the EISS.
That clearly leaves the option for the government at some later stage, if it so chooses, to introduce legislation which specifically addresses this particular issue, potentially in exactly the same way as was originally outlined in this bill. Or, hopefully, if the government is wise, if it is prepared to support the Ombudsman’s inquiry, it could then introduce either its original intended bill or some amended bill if in fact the Ombudsman finds some validity to the claims being made by the advocates on behalf of the EISS issue.
Given that the government is going to remove or propose the removal of those particular controversial elements from the bill, the opposition will be supporting those amendments and therefore will not need to prolong the committee stage of the debate by way of detailed questioning on this issue.
As an opposition, we are happy to leave the facts to be determined by the Ombudsman in his inquiry, and then—as I am sure the government can—the opposition will reserve its position in relation to the particular issues that have been raised by those who have concerns about the government’s treatment of the Electricity Industry Superannuation Scheme. With those words, I indicate the Liberal Party’s support for the second reading of the bill.