Senate debates

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws — Superannuation) Bill 2008

In Committee

6:04 pm

Photo of Sarah Hanson-YoungSarah Hanson-Young (SA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

(4)    After proposed item 13, insert:

13A  At the end of Part 4

Add:

36A Information on discrimination (private superannuation funds)

        (1)    A private sector fund must, within 60 days of the commencement of Schedule 4 of the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—Superannuation) Act 2008, provide to APRA a report containing the following information:

             (a)    whether the trust deed by which the entity is constituted recognises members of the opposite sex as a couple (however defined); and

             (b)    whether the trust deed by which the entity is constituted recognises members of the same sex as a couple (however defined); and

             (c)    any differences in the way the trust deed recognises as a couple (however defined) members of the opposite sex, as compared with members of the same sex.

        (2)    APRA must place a copy of any report made under this section on the Internet with public access through APRA’s home page.

        (3)    If there is any material change to the information published by an entity under this Division, the entity must provide an up-to-date report within 7 days.

This amendment relates to how the current bill only mandates that same-sex couples are given the same entitlements in public Commonwealth superannuation funds. This is something that has been raised numerous times throughout the committee process. The Greens have been quite upfront about our concern that, despite the fact that almost 90 per cent of Australians have their superannuation tied up in private or commercial superannuation funds, this bill does not mandate that those funds adopt the new definition of a de facto relationship and thereby recognise the rights and entitlements of same-sex couples as equal to those of opposite-sex couples. Amendment (4) asks the private sector funds to, within 60 days of the commencement of schedule 4, provide a report as to whether they will adopt the new definition of de facto relationship, which would involve giving the same entitlements to same-sex couples as to opposite-sex couples. It is simply about allowing individuals and punters the information so they can vote with their feet.

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