Senate debates

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Paid Parental Leave Bill 2010; Paid Parental Leave (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010

In Committee

6:08 pm

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move opposition amendments (1) to (5), (7), (10), (11), and (15) to (20) on sheet 6134:

(1)    Clause 63, page 62 (lines 3 to 8), omit subclauses (1) and (2), substitute:

        (1)    Parental leave pay must be paid to a person by the Secretary in instalments.

(2)    Clause 64, page 62 (line 16) to page 63 (line 18), omit the clause, substitute:

64  A person’s instalment period and the payday for an instalment

        (1)    A person’s instalment period is the period of 14 days starting on a day the Secretary considers appropriate for the person (or a class of person in which the person is included) and each successive 14 day period

Note:   Sections 93 and 94 affect when an instalment period for a person starts and ends in certain circumstances.

        (2)    The payday for the instalment is a day that the Secretary considers appropriate that occurs after the instalment period to which the instalment relates.

(3)    Clause 67, page 64 (line 22), omit “An employer or the Secretary”, substitute “The Secretary”.

(4)    Clause 67, page 64 (lines 26 to 31), omit the note.

(5)    Clause 68, page 65 (line 13), omit “An employer or the Secretary”, substitute “The Secretary”.

(7)    Clause 69, page 65 (line 22), omit “(2)”.

(10)  Clause 83, page 76 (lines 3 to 16), omit the clause, substitute:

83  Guide to this Part

This Part is about the payment of instalments to a person by the Secretary.

The Secretary is required to pay instalments directly to a person on the payday for the instalment.

In certain circumstances where the Secretary becomes required to pay instalments to a person, the Secretary is also required to pay the person arrears for instalments that had previously become payable, but not been paid, to the person.

(11)  Clause 84, page 77 (line 2) to page 78 (line 26), omit the clause, substitute:

84  When the Secretary pays instalments

                 The Secretary must pay an instalment that is payable to a person on the payday for the instalment.

(15)  Clause 117, page 103 (lines 15 and 16), omit paragraph (c).

(16)  Clause 117, page 103 (line 19), omit “;”, substitute “.”.

(17)  Clause 117, page 103 (lines 20 to 25), omit paragraphs (e) to (g).

(18)  Heading to clause 133, page 112 (lines 3 and 4), omit “or PPL funding amount”.

(19)  Clause 133, page 112 (lines 8 to 15), omit paragraph(1)(b), substitute:

             (b)    order the person to pay the Commonwealth an amount equal to any amount paid to, or in relation to, the person by way of an instalment of parental leave pay because of the act, failure or omission that constituted the offence.

(20)  Clause 138, page 113 (lines 21 and 22), omit “or a PPL funding amount”.

The opposition will be opposing clause 69, clause 70, part 3-2, clauses 85 and 86, clauses 93 and 94, and part 3-5 in the following terms:

(6)    Clause 69, page 65 (lines 18 to 21), subclause (1) TO BE OPPOSED.

(8)    Clause 70, page 66 (lines 5 and 6), subclause (2) and the note TO BE OPPOSED.

(9)    Part 3-2, page 67 (line 1) to page 75 (line 9), TO BE OPPOSED.

(12)  Clauses 85 and 86, page 78 (line 27) to page 80 (line 12), TO BE OPPOSED.

(13)  Clauses 93 and 94, page 84 (line 1) to page 85 (line 1), TO BE OPPOSED.

(14)  Part 3-5, page 87 (line 1) to page 101 (line 8), TO BE OPPOSED.

In moving these amendments, the opposition are not in any way seeking to impede the passage or introduction of the government scheme. As we have flagged in the second reading debate, the opposition are concerned that the government is seeking to give business in effect the role of being the PPL paymaster. We are therefore seeking these substantive amendments to extend the role of the Family Assistance Office in administering the Paid Parental Leave scheme indefinitely. This measure would make ongoing use of the taxpayer investment in the establishment of the necessary payment and operating systems beyond the initial six months. We urge the government to embrace the coalition’s amendments in order to avoid the imposition of unnecessary and unjustified cost, additional regulatory burden and the compliance risks to the small business community.

I think anyone who has been watching the debate in this chamber about the PPL legislation would be well aware that the opposition have been very responsible in the approach we have taken to amendments that have been put forward. Where amendments have been put forward which may have given effect to part of the coalition’s own policy but where it is clear that there was no prospect of the government agreeing with such amendments in the House, we have not supported those amendments. We have been at pains to do everything we possibly can to facilitate the passage of this legislation. However, the Senate, and the opposition in particular, has an important role to scrutinise legislation, and where we see what we feel to be a genuine problem that can easily and readily be addressed then we think it is the responsible and appropriate thing to move an amendment to that effect. It is the opposition’s hope that the government will seriously consider the amendments we are putting forward.

In moving these amendments I want to acknowledge the ceaseless advocacy in this area—that being the impact of the government’s legislation on business—of Mr Billson, the shadow minister for small business, and Senator Boswell, who is also a ceaseless advocate in this place for small business. We genuinely hope that the government will consider these amendments.


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