The Government plans to debate six of its superannuation Bills in the Senate this week – almost all its super-related Bills before Parliament.
The Government’s superannuation agenda has not been a priority recently, with none of the five Bills having been debated since June – which is before the most recent change of PM and ministerial reshuffle.
The Draft Legislation Programme for the Senate for this week has Bills up for the debate on the following days, though the Programme is generally only a guide at best:
Update (Wednesday 10:30am): The Senate didn’t debate any of the superannuation Bills on either Monday or Tuesday. Based on the Notice Paper and Order of Business it is likely none of the Bills will be debated on Wednesday either. Thursday is the last sitting day this week. The next sitting week starts November 26.
Update (Wednesday 3:30pm): Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert has announced a series of amendments to the Government’s superannuation legislation, and says that there will be debate on the Bills either today or tomorrow.
Update (Thursday 12:45pm): There may be a vote today on the Protecting Your Superannuation Package Bill, though the Government’s amendments have yet to appear. It seems unlikely there will be votes on any other superannuation legislation.
- Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 4) Bill 2018 – jail for underpayment of Super Guarantee, extend Single Touch Payroll
- Treasury Laws Amendment (Protecting Your Superannuation Package) Bill 2018 – 2018 Budget measures
- Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2018 – amnesty for employers underpaying Super Guarantee, among other measures
- Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2017 – MySuper reporting
- Superannuation Laws Amendment (Strengthening Trustee Arrangements) Bill 2017 – one-third independent directors for large super funds
- Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 2) Bill 2017 – expand Super Choice and close Salary Sacrifice ‘loophole’
It is unclear as yet which Bills have the votes to pass – there is a reason the Bills have so far been stalled in the Senate.
Robert has said, reportedly, that he had been negotiating recently with the cross-bench on the Bills and his confidence was “probably above 50 per cent”.
Interesting the Strengthening Trustee Arrangements Bill is listed for debate, and Robert has been speaking in support of the Bill – which requires large super funds to have at least one-third independent directors and an independent Chair. This Bill was reportedly quietly dropped by the Government, though that was before the recent change of PM. The Bill was last debated in December 2017, and would need to then go to the House as it was introduced first in the Senate.
Robert has also been promoting both the Bill to give courts the power to jail employers who don’t pay super guarantee, and another Bill which gives employers an amnesty for not paying SG, in a recent speech.
“The amnesty does not leave employees worse off and does not let employers off the hook,” said the Minister.
The 12 month amnesty is intended to start from 24 May 2018, but the Bill has yet to pass.
Only one of the Government’s superannuation Bills isn’t listed for debate, and that is one that also hasn’t featured in speeches by the Assistant Treasurer – the Bill to set an objective for the super system. If passed this Bill would require the other Bills to come with a statement setting out how the changes comply with the objective of super.