Senate debates

Thursday, 14 May 2020


Consideration of Legislation

11:46 am

Photo of Anne RustonAnne Ruston (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Families and Social Services) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—I move:


(a) government business orders of the day as shown on today's Order of Business be exempted from the cut off as required, and considered from 12.45 pm today; and

(b) government business be called on after consideration of the bills listed in paragraph (a) and considered till not later than 2 pm today.

I also table statements of reasons justifying the need for the bills to be considered during these sittings and seek leave to have the statements incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statements read as follows—


Purpose of the Bill

The Defence Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2020 (the Bill) is designed to improve access to the Defence Home Ownership Assistant Scheme and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Superannuation scheme.

Reasons for Urgency

The Bill contains two schedules that will:

    Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme Act 2008
    Australian Defence Force Superannuation Act 2015

As part of the Government's 2019 election commitment, the Bill will make some small but significant changes to Defence legislation that will benefit some 5,500 ADF members who transition each year.

These changes will ensure members and their families have sufficient time to carefully consider their options after leaving the ADF, without being rushed into pursuing a home for fear of losing their entitlement to the subsidy.

These changes will also afford members the option of remaining in the same superannuation fund after leaving the ADF, making their transition process easier and seamless. This is consistent with similar changes that have been made to the Public Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan for Australian Government employees.


Purpose of the Bill

The Bill simplifies Medicare administrative processes for recognition as a specialist general practitioner (GP) for Medicare purposes under the Health Insurance Act 1973 (HI Act) and will align Medicare eligibility for GPs with the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) registration requirements which were introduced in 2010.

The HI Act provides multiple pathways for recognising GPs for Medicare billing purposes. The Bill will create a single streamlined pathway for recognition by removing the requirement for GPs to submit a separate application to the Services Australia for GP specialist recognition. Services Australia will utilise daily registration data feeds from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).

The Bill also makes a minor but important technical change to in relation to the Commonwealth Qualified Privilege Scheme by removing references to repealed legislation in relation to the definition of a quality assurance activity. The change will ensure that activities declared on or after 1 July 2009 are taken to have been valid declarations.

Reasons for Urgency

Passage in this sitting period provides an opportunity to resolve a long term duplicative administrative process for GPs to access higher Medicare rebates as soon as they achieve specialist recognition.

Stakeholders (such as Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine) are aware of the Bill and have notified their members that they may be required to take action to ensure they continue to access higher Medicare rebates under the new administrative process. Passage in this sitting period would be consistent with their expectation that the issue would be resolved in the first half of 2020.

If the Bill is not dealt with in this sitting period, the Government will work with stakeholders to revise the timetable for transition to the new administrative process.


Purpose of the Bill

The Bill aims to reduce delays for Australians in accessing new medical devices and promising new medicines, improves understanding about what is required for successful applications for marketing approval for new prescription medicines and encourages innovation for assessed listed medicines.

Reasons for Urgency

It is desirable for this Bill to be passed in the 2020 Winter Sittings to implement a range of measures that support the health and well-being of Australians and to provide predictability for the medicines and medical device industry.


Purpose of the Bill

The purpose of this bill is to:

      Income Tax Assessment Act 1997

    Reasons for Urgency

        Uncertainty regarding the status of the measure may also stymie merger discussions with underperforming funds at a time when there is public agreement that fund performance needs to be lifted to deliver better outcomes for members, with merger being a key pathway to achieve this outcome.