Government lacks votes on super changes, delays votes on Bills

The Government doesn’t have the votes to pass some key parts of its superannuation agenda through the Senate.

On Monday the Government delayed votes on three superannuation Bills – which included changes to super fund governance, MySuper reporting and choice of super fund.

Related: Government’s superannuation changes “not dead”, says Minister

On Thursday last week Senator George Brandis, Leader of the Government in the Senate, moved that the hours and routine of the Senate be changed to make these Bills the top priority. Labor attempted, and failed, to exclude three super Bills:

These are the very Bills which Senator Brandis has now delayed.

The Senate had debated the first two Bills during the day, but did not get to a vote. At the time there was questions if the Government was filibustering its own Bills as it negotiated with the crossbench, with Coalition members continuing to speak on the Bill after the Labor speakers finished. Reports have it that the Nick Xenophon Team were unconvinced on the governance changes – which require at least one-third independent directors for large super funds, among other changes.

“Labor was ready to debate and vote on the legislation – we know our position,” said Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen.

“We think it is bad law that’s nothing more than another notch on the Turnbull Government’s attack on industry super funds and Labor will not facilitate it,” he said.

Labor plans to attempt to amend the annual MySuper outcomes assessment reporting requirement to include Choice super products.

Bills to create the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) and downsizer contribution, along with the creation of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), are still a priority in the Senate, and may be debated today:

  • Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures No. 1) Bill 2017
  • First Home Super Saver Tax Bill 2017
  • Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First—Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Bill 2017

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