The Government’s approach to same-s-x superannuation has been scrutinised in Senate Estimates this week. Finance Minister Nick Minchin has said superannuation equality for same-s-x couples “would not be uncontroversial and it is a big decision for the Government to make”.
However, he has also admitted that the real annual cost of extending defined benefit superannuation schemes to same-s-x couples would be small.
Under questioning from Democrat Andrew Murray, Labor’s Nick Sherry and the Greens’ Kerry Nettle, Minchin said: “The Government have not ruled out a wider move on interdependency with respect to the existing defined benefit funds, but we did not make that decision in this Budget.”
He added such a step “would not affect the four-year forward estimates to any great degree”.
Minchin has warned, however, that “it is quite a big decision for a government to discretely and unilaterally add to the liability on future taxpayers, who ultimately bear the responsibility for superannuation liability”.
Yet he appears to have tackled his own concerns: “I am pleased that we have been able to create the Future Fund with a view to ensuring that future taxpayers will be in a better position to meet this liability.”
Retiring Liberal MP Warren Entsch critices government inaction on the matter in The Australian today.
“I think what has happened is totally unacceptable,” the paper quotes him as saying. “I am furious and angry at the lack of action.”
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission report Same S-x: Same Entitlements was due to be delivered to Attorney-General Philip Ruddock this week. Crikey understands he will have until 21 June to respond to the report.