Senate debates

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Bills

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Bill 2020; In Committee

12:34 pm

Photo of Rachel SiewertRachel Siewert (WA, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I want to move on to the issue around the review of the legislation. I will reflect that I'm disappointed we didn't delay it because I don't think, with the best will in the world in fact, that you can ensure that this is going to rollout as the government foresees that it will. That's why stakeholders expressed to us that they thought it should be delayed. I am disappointed. It also makes the need for review even more essential. While I did hear the government say that they're going to review this, I think, and the Greens believe, that the matter needs to actually be in the legislation itself. That's why we've circulated an amendment, to ensure that the implementation of this process—because it is new. We all know it's important, but we want to make sure that it's right, that it's working properly, that people aren't disenfranchised and that it hasn't adversely hurt people. We need to have the review of the legislation. It needs to be public. It needs to be independent. It needs to start as soon as practical after the 12 months of operation of the act.

I heard what the minister said about time limit. The review we're proposing is six months, and it needs to report and needs to be tabled in parliament. We believe this is the best way of ensuring that the review is undertaken and that it's independent.

I move Greens amendment (2) on sheet 8882:

(2) Page 2 (after line 14), after clause 3, insert:

4 Public and independent review of this Act

(1) The Minister must cause an independent review to be conducted of the operation of the amendments made by this Act.

(2) The review must start as soon as practicable after the end of 12 months after this Act commences.

(3) The persons who conduct the review must give the Minister a written report of the review within 6 months of the commencement of the review.

(4) The persons who conduct the review must consult:

(a) income support recipients impacted by the amendments made by this Act; and

(b) any stakeholders considered relevant by the persons who conduct the review.

(5) The review must provide for public submissions as part of the review.

(6) The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the report is given to the Minister.

(7) In this section, Minister means the Minister administering the Social Security Act 1991 .

[public and independent review of amendments]

(3) Schedule 1, item 37, page 8 (after line 32), after subsection 1073A(6), insert:

(7) To avoid doubt, in this section, employment period means the period of time over which the employment income was earned.

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