Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Tax Laws Amendment (Stronger, Fairer, Simpler and Other Measures) Bill 2011; Consideration in Detail
I present a supplementary explanatory memorandum to the bill. By leave—I move government amendments (1) and (2):
(1) Clause 2, page 3 (at the end of the table), add:
(2) Page 20 (after line 6), at the end of the Bill, add:
Schedule 5—Deduction of employer contributions to superannuation funds
Income Tax Assessment Act 1997
1 Subsection 290-80(1)
Omit ", either".
2 At the end of subsection 290-80(1)
; or (c) the contribution must reduce your charge percentage under section 22 or 23 of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 in respect of the employee.
3 After subsection 290-80(2)
(2A) If only paragraph (1)(c) applies, you can deduct only the amount of the contribution that reduces your charge percentage under section 22 or 23 of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 in respect of the employee.
(2B) If both paragraphs (1)(b) and (c) apply and paragraph (1)(a) does not apply, you can deduct only the greater of the following amounts (or only one of them if they are equal):
(a) the amount of the contribution that is required by the industrial award, determination or notional agreement preserving State awards;
(b) the amount of the contribution that reduces your charge percentage under section 22 or 23 of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 in respect of the employee.
Note: If paragraph (1)(a) applies, you can deduct the whole of the contribution (whether or not paragraph (1)(b) or (1)(c) also applies).
4 Application this
The amendments made by this Schedule apply to contributions made on or after the commencement of this Schedule.
The Gillard government has an effective plan to deal with one of the big challenges facing our nation: how to ensure that Australians enjoy a comfortable retirement as our population lives longer. The government's historic superannuation reforms will boost Australians' private savings, helping them enjoy a comfortable retirement. These amendments ensure that employers will be able to claim income tax deductions for superannuation guarantee contributions made to employees aged 75 and over from 1 July 2013.
These amendments enable superannuation guarantee payments to be claimed as a legitimate employment cost and therefore be deductible to the employer. The amendments ensure employers will not bear a higher cost in employing workers 75 or over compared with other workers. These amendments are part of the same measure that seeks to remove the superannuation guarantee maximum age limit. Without the ability to claim superannuation guarantee payments as a tax deduction, employers would face a hit to their corporate profits; therefore it is vital that these amendments are supported.
The government's policy has been thoroughly considered and is consistent with the broad goals of superannuation policy. I sincerely hope that the government's amendments receive bipartisan support so that older Australians and their employers can have some certainty.
It gives me a great deal of pleasure to say we will be voting in favour of these amendments because here is my private member's bill, introduced in February this year, which says, 'Repeal section 27(1)(a) of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992', and here is the government amendment doing exactly the same thing. The only thing is that that lot over there and Mr Wilkie and Mr Windsor all voted against my private member's bill to abolish discrimination. Furthermore, I foreshadowed an amendment for deduction for employer contributions to the superannuation funds, which is now being introduced in accordance with our policy, but the difference is this: the Assistant Treasurer has misled this parliament. He said in his second reading speech that the bill he introduced earlier got rid of age discrimination. He misled the House, because it did not. He then put up on his website a dishonest version of his speech which said the government will amend its own legislation. He then went on radio and pretended that he had said this all along. The member is dishonest. The minister is—
Government members interjecting—
I withdraw and rephrase, Mr Speaker. The shadow—or, rather, he will be shadow—the Assistant Treasurer has been caught out misleading the parliament and the people. The Assistant Treasurer has finally given in to the policies which we announced in February of this year. But there is an additional problem, and it is this: when the minister says that he will amend his bill, he is putting at risk his own legislation, because in this bill now are two measures relating to taxation, and section 55 of the Constitution says that a taxation matter may only be dealt with in a single bill. The minister should withdraw his initial bill and introduce two separate pieces of legislation. There is plenty of precedent for this where previously the legislation has been seen to be at risk and the government has chosen to withdraw its bill and introduce two separate pieces of legislation.
I do not expect for a minute that the Assistant Treasurer wishes to comply with the proprieties of this House. He has shown that by saying in his second reading speech that this bill ends age discrimination when it does not and then putting up on his website an alternative speech, which he purports to be his second reading speech—his tabling speech—saying that the government will amend the bill. The long and the short of it is that the Assistant Treasurer has in fact left on the record in his second reading speech, his tabling speech—a speech which can receive the attention of the court in any interpretation of the law, an error—and it is wrong. He will not correct the record of this misleading of the parliament.
I say to you, Mr Speaker, that a way has to be found in which the error and the deliberate misleading by the Assistant Treasurer has been left on the record. It must be corrected.
The question is that the amendments be agreed to.
Question agreed to.
The question now is that the bill, as amended, be agreed to.
The House divided. [01: 18 ]
(The Speaker—Mr Harry Jenkins)
Question agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.