Labor is pushing for the legislation defining the objective of superannuation to be sent back to a committee, citing a "very short" consultation period and a lack of agreement on the wording.
Speaking at a financial services committee event on Friday, Labor Senator Katy Gallagher said she has sought the agreement of the government to have the legislation that enshrines the objective of superannuation "referred off to a committee".
Ms Gallagher acknowledged that some "good early work" had been done on the consultation for the bill, but she said there was only one submission that was supportive of the objective as currently defined in legislation.
Furthermore, she said, the consultation period was "very short", with interested parties only give nine days to provide their submissions – with a number of questions remaining "unanswered".
"The government [has] agreed to carve that legislation off. It will go for a committee inquiry. I expect people will be able to resubmit the submissions they have provided to Treasury. So there won’t be too much more work but we’ll be able to have that discussion, and it is due to report in February next year," Ms Gallagher said.
"[There are questions] not just about the objective, but about the secondary objectives or the subsidiary objectives and about how they relate to the primary objective, where they are located in the legislation – at the moment they are located in the explanatory memorandum and not in the bill," Ms Gallagher said.
"Also, [there are questions] about how compatibility statements would work. There is seemingly no enforceability of that."
Whether or not superannuation is "fit for purpose" is a discussion that should be ongoing, she said.
"I have no doubt, it seems to me that getting the objective right and as David Murray said in the Financial System Inquiry report, a broad political consensus, or I think those were the terms used, that we should attempt to reach that before an objective is legislated," Ms Gallagher said.
"Many people have said to me that their preference would be to have no objective of super if it meant that we got one that nobody agreed with considering the role that it will play in formulating public policy."
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