The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Helen Coonan

Helen Coonan

Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer

26 November 2001 - 17 July 2004

Media Release of 25/06/2004


25 June 2004


The Government has taken prompt action to correct an unintended consequence of an amendment to the Superannuation Budget Measures Bill debated in the Senate last night and moved by Independent Senator Shayne Murphy, Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, Senator Helen Coonan said.

The amendment intended to reduce the superannuation surcharge to 10 per cent in 2006-07 as opposed to the Government’s proposal to reduce the surcharge to 7.5 per cent in 2006-07.

An error in the drafting of the amendment, that was identified by my office, unintentionally removed the superannuation surcharge completely after 2006-07.

The Government has not sought to take advantage of this error and has put in place steps to allow Senator Murphy to correct his amendment.

Senator Nick Sherry’s baseless criticisms are a bit rich considering he was not present during the debate on the most significant incentives for Australians to contribute to superannuation since the superannuation guarantee was introduced.

These incentives will have the effect of injecting approximately $2.1 billion into the superannuation funds of ordinary Australian workers who are doing the right thing and making voluntary contributions in order to save for their retirement.

Senator Sherry voted against allowing six million low and middle income earners in Australia to access the Government’s co-contribution. It was the Government that picked up Senator Sherry’s $8 billion blooper and it was the Government that picked up the error in last night’s amendment.

Labor failed to note it and have tried to imply that the Treasurer is somehow involved in last night’s Senate debate. How ridiculous.

As I stated earlier, the Government has not sought to take advantage of this error despite wanting to reduce the super surcharge further than Senator Murphy’s amendment allows.

It’s a case of stones and glass houses when you remember that it was Senator Sherry who drafted amendments earlier this week during the super Choice debate that would have unintentionally exempted all small businesses from paying super to their employees.

His second amendment was unconstitutional and his third go passed muster. I guess two out of three ain’t bad.