The Government has failed to pass its amnesty for employers who haven’t paid their Super Guarantee obligations through the Parliament.
The Super Guarantee amnesty was intended to run for 12 months, from the date it was announced – 24 May 2018 – until 23 May 2019.
But the Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2018 was stalled in the Senate, having last been debated in June 2018. The calling of the election means that it can’t pass before the amnesty would have ended.
If the Coalition win the election there would not be time for Parliament to sit before the announced end date of the amnesty – the Australian Electoral Commission says it will take “several weeks” to complete the Senate count.
It is unclear if the Coalition intends to keep a Super Guarantee amnesty as a policy.
The 2018 Superannuation Measures No. 1 Bill also included changes to superannuation for employees with multiple employers, changes to Non-Arm’s Length Income (NALI) and the inclusion of LRBAs in Total Super Balance in certain circumstances.
Superannuation legislation lapses with election
The Government’s stalled superannuation legislation has lapsed with the calling of the election. The superannuation-related Bills the Government failed to pass – in addition to the SG amnesty Bill – include:
- Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Members’ Interests First) Bill 2019: Opt-in insurance changes from 2018 Budget
- Superannuation Laws Amendment (Strengthening Trustee Arrangements) Bill 2017: requiring at least 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’
- Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016: set an objective for the super system in legislation
On the last day of Parliament the Government passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (Improving Accountability and Member Outcomes in Superannuation Measures No. 1) Bill 2017, which includes an outcomes test and Portfolio Holding Disclosure for super funds.
The Government stripped the proposed increase in the maximum number of SMSF members from 4 to 6 from its Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Bill 2019, which then passed the Parliament.
Should the Coalition win the election, and the measures remain policy, then the passage of Bills will depend on the make-up of the Senate.
Labor is unlikely to try and pass most of the measures – if Labor had supported them they would have easily passed through the Senate. Though there are some that Labor may revisit in the new Parliament. Labor has supported closing the Salary Sacrifice, so-called, ‘loophole’ in the past, but had issues with the changes to Super Choice in the same Bill. Labor may also support legislating an objective for superannuation, though unlikely the exact objective written by the Coalition.