The Government, may, put three of its superannuation Bills up for debate in the Senate this week – the last sitting week for 2018. But it might not have the votes to pass the Bills, and is running out of time before some of the measures are meant to be in place.
Update: The Senate passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 4) Bill 2018 on Wednesday, with amendments – meaning it will need to return to the House.
The Government appears to have narrowed its focus to three of its superannuation Bills:
- Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 4) Bill 2018 – Potential prison sentences for employers not paying Super Guarantee, extend Single Touch Payroll to all employers, other measures
- Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2018 – amnesty for historical underpayment of Super Guarantee, other measures
- Treasury Laws Amendment (Protecting Your Superannuation Package) Bill 2018 – implement 2018/19 Budget measures (cap on fees, opt-out insurance, etc)
These three Bills are included in the most recent Draft Legislation Programme for the Senate, though they were also on the Programme for last week and didn’t get to a vote. The last time the Bills were debated was in late June 2018.
The likely explanation for the delays is that the Government doesn’t have the votes to pass the Bills, at least at this stage or in this form. The Australian reports that Senator Fraser Anning plans to vote against the superannuation Bills.
Some of the measures in the Bills start on 1 July 2019, though arguably the most time-sensitive is the proposed 12 month amnesty for employers who haven’t paid Super Guarantee. As drafted, the amnesty would have started on 24 May 2018 if the Bill passes. If the Bill doesn’t pass this week there are only three Senate sitting days in February 2019, followed by more in April – though time to pass the amnesty Bill may be tight with the Budget on April 2, the need to pass supply Bills and the likely calling of a May election.
Assistant Treasurer has said the Government would be moving amendments to the three Bills in mid-November, though these amendments have yet to be published on the Parliament’s website. A revised Green’s amendment to the Protecting Your Superannuation Bill has been published.
In November the Government included six Bills on the Senate Programme – the other three Bills would expand Super Choice and close the Salary Sacrifice ‘loophole’, another would require large super funds to have at least one-third independent directors and the third would change MySuper reporting.