All Government super Bills set for debate today, except objective of super

All the Government’s superannuation Bills are set for debate in the Senate today, except for the Bill setting the objective for super.

Update, Tuesday evening: The Senate didn’t debate the superannuation Bills today, only reaching the Treasury Laws Amendment (Housing Tax Integrity) Bill 2017 – the first Bill on the notice paperThe superannuation changes may be debated on Wednesday, but welfare reform is also scheduled for debate, and potentially same sex marriage.

Update, Tuesday morning: The superannuation bills are scheduled again for debate in the Senate on Tuesday. There was little movement on the Bills on Monday, with only time to introduce the Bills coming from the House of Representatives. It is unclear yet how the ongoing citizenship issue has impacted the likelihood of passage, given both Labor and the Greens oppose some of the measures.

Much of this legislation is contentious, including Bills to require large super funds to have at least one-third independent directors and expand choice of super fund.

The Bills to create the First Home Super Saver Scheme are also set for debate – which is opposed by Labor and the Greens. The ‘downsizer contribution’ is contained in the same Bill, but is likely to find more support in the Senate.

Also scheduled is the Bill to create the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). Labor may oppose the Bill, arguing that it weakens protections for superannuation consumers and is otherwise simply re-branding.

Indeed the only Government superannuation Bill not scheduled for debate is the Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016, which would set an objective for super in legislation and require superannuation-related Bills to have a statement of compatibility. It has been almost a year since this Bill was last debated in the Senate. None of the Bills set for debate contain such a statement of compatibility.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2017, Superannuation Laws Amendment (Strengthening Trustee Arrangements) Bill 2017 and Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First—Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Bill 2017 were introduced to the Senate first and have yet to pass the House.

The Government has proposed amendments to the Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 1 Bill 2017, which may indicate negotiations. The amendments would, according to the EM:

  • require RSE licensees to look through PSTs to meet their obligation to make information about their portfolio holdings publically available; and
  • clarify that the obligation on RSE licensees applies equally in respect of all choice products and all MySuper products.

The superannuation Bills scheduled for debate on Monday, according to the Draft Legislation Programme for the Senate, are:

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