Bill: Southern State Superannuation [Parental Leave] Amendment Bill (2nd Reading)


Second Reading

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 11 February 2016.)

Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 15:53 ): I am pleased to speak on the Southern State Superannuation (Parental Leave) Amendment Bill, and I do not intend to take an enormous amount of the house's time. However, I do want to put a couple of things on the record in regard to the second reading speech which perhaps the Attorney might consider responding to in his answer, or perhaps more likely between the houses through the Hon. Rob Lucas who will be representing the Liberal Party in the Legislative Council and is, indeed, the lead shadow minister in this portfolio area which, I assume, is industrial relations.

The Southern State Superannuation (Parental Leave) Amendment Bill relates to parental leave and superannuation matters—unsurprisingly, given the title. Up until 2012 when we passed in this place the Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Superannuation) Bill for which the Hon. Michael O'Brien, of blessed memory, was the relevant minister and Iain Evans was the shadow minister, superannuation had been payable to members of Triple-S on parental leave payments.

In 2012, the government introduced that bill, which amended the definition of salary so that superannuation did not have to be paid on parental leave payments. The government argued that that was to bring us in line with the requirements of the commonwealth Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992. The bill passed the parliament and has been the law for 3½ years.

This bill seeks to reverse that 2012 decision in relation to parental leave by reinstating superannuation to members of Triple S on parental leave payments. In his second reading explanation, it was the Attorney's suggestion that some states—Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia—have continued to pay superannuation on parental leave despite the federal legislation, and we would like some clarity as to what in fact has been occurring in South Australia's departments.

The government also claims that various enterprise agreements that existed at the time of the 2012 bill included provisions that 'existing conditions of employment' would not be reduced. If this bill were to pass, as to the commencement in clause 2, this act will be taken to have come into operation on 19 November 2012 immediately after section 13 of the Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Superannuation) Act came into operation, effectively making it retrospective, so that the aspects of this bill apply to the act as if the previous bill had never taken effect.

Again, we are keen to find out whether that means that, in effect, the previous bill has never been put into operation in terms of those aspects relating to superannuation on parental leave. Has superannuation continued to be paid to those members of Triple S on parental leave payments? Are superannuation contributions still being made? This question is particularly pertinent because the government claims that there will be no budget impact as no budget reductions were made to agencies in 2012.

If that is the case, and I have no reason to think that it is not, some agencies may have used the budget saving to meet the general budget savings target for the agency; they may have used the money for other things; or they may have continued to make these payments. We would like to know the situation for each agency: whether the application has been consistent across agencies and what has been happening with the money. If the superannuation was not payable to members on Triple S on parental leave payments, then surely there is a budget impact. If so, how much is that budget impact? How much is this going to cost, and what is the relevant cost to be applied?

I am certain the Attorney can answer some of those questions between the houses if he wishes. He can answer as much of it as he likes or is able to now, if he has the figures or the answers at hand. The Public Service Association is on the record as being strongly in support of the bill and the Liberal Party will also be supporting this bill, albeit with the request for that information, which may be pertinent to the debate in the Legislative Council.

The Hon. J.R. RAU ( EnfieldDeputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice Reform, Minister for Planning, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for Child Protection Reform, Minister for the Public Sector, Minister for Consumer and Business Services, Minister for the City of Adelaide) (15:58): I thank the member for Morialta for his contribution and his indication of support for the bill. I have an understanding that there have been no payments withheld, but I will check that between the houses and, if that understanding turns out to be incorrect, I will correct it in writing to the honourable member. As I said, I appreciate the fact that the opposition will be supporting this measure which, really, when you think about it, is just fixing up what was an unattended potential anomaly in the otherwise intended scheme. With those few words, I look forward to the passage of the bill.

Bill read a second time.

Third Reading

The Hon. J.R. RAU ( EnfieldDeputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice Reform, Minister for Planning, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for Child Protection Reform, Minister for the Public Sector, Minister for Consumer and Business Services, Minister for the City of Adelaide) (15:59): I move:

That this bill be now read a third time.

Bill read a third time and passed.

Mr GARDNER: I draw your attention to the state of the house.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: There not being a quorum present, ring the bells.

A quorum having been formed: