The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill for a second time. In other words, they voted to agree with the bill's main idea, which means they can now discuss it in more detail.

What is the bill's main idea?

In his second reading speech, Whitlam MP Stephen Jones (Labor) explained that the bill:

repeals paragraph 5(e) of the Superannuation (Salary) Regulations with effect from 1 July 1986 and provides that the effect of the repeal does not apply to individuals where limited circumstances are satisfied.

The changes in the bill are only relevant to current and former Commonwealth public sector civilian employees.

The default superannuation salary of a member of the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme established under the Superannuation Act 1976 includes the value of any allowance that, under the regulations, is to be treated as salary under the act.

Prior to 1 March 2022 paragraph 5(e) of the regulations provided that the rent-free use of housing made available to a person by reason that they held a particular office or performed particular duties or work was an allowance that was to be treated as salary for the purpose of the act.

The value of rent-free housing as per paragraph 5(e) of the regulations flowed through to the default superannuation salary of members of the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme, and members of the Public Sector Superannuation Accumulation Plan and certain members of non-Commonwealth choice funds.

At the time the regulations were made in 1978, an employee's assessable income was taken to include the value of rent-free housing. With the introduction of the fringe benefits tax regime in 1986, the tax burden in relation to rent-free housing shifted from the employee to employer.

Following this change in 1986 the Commonwealth has typically not treated rent-free housing as forming part of superannuation salary and generally neither employers nor employees have made superannuation contributions that have taken into account the value of rent-free housing.

A recent case before the Federal Court has exposed differing views on the operation and scope of former paragraph 5(e) of the regulations. If the interpretation as argued by the applicants was accepted, it would have significant financial impacts for the Commonwealth and inequitable financial outcomes for differing cohorts of individuals.

Some individuals would receive an unexpected windfall increase in their superannuation benefits while others could incur potentially large unexpected debts for unpaid member contributions with little or no corresponding increase in their superannuation benefit.

Conflicts of interest

Both Goldstein MP Zoe Daniel (Independent) and Mackellar MP Dr Sophie Scamps (Independent) left the chamber before the vote (so they didn't take part) because of potential conflicts of interest. See the Hansard for more information.

Votes Passed by a large majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Adam Bandt Melbourne No
Stephen Bates Brisbane No
Max Chandler-Mather Griffith No
Elizabeth Watson-Brown Ryan No
Australian Labor Party (89% turnout) 68 Yes 0 No
Anne Aly Cowan Yes
Michelle Ananda-Rajah Higgins Yes
Chris Bowen McMahon Yes
Matt Burnell Spence Yes
Linda Burney Barton Yes
Josh Burns Macnamara Yes
Mark Butler Hindmarsh Yes
Alison Byrnes Cunningham Yes
Jim Chalmers Rankin Yes
Andrew Charlton Parramatta Yes
Lisa Chesters Bendigo Yes
Jason Clare Blaxland Yes
Sharon Claydon Newcastle Yes
Libby Coker Corangamite Yes
Julie Collins Franklin Yes
Pat Conroy Shortland Yes
Mark Dreyfus Isaacs Yes
Justine Elliot Richmond Yes
Cassandra Fernando Holt Yes
Mike Freelander Macarthur Yes
Carina Garland Chisholm Yes
Steve Georganas Adelaide Yes
Andrew Giles Scullin Yes
Patrick Gorman Perth Yes
Luke Gosling Solomon Yes
Julian Hill Bruce Yes
Ed Husic Chifley Yes
Stephen Jones Whitlam Yes
Ged Kearney Cooper Yes
Matt Keogh Burt Yes
Peter Khalil Wills Yes
Catherine King Ballarat Yes
Madeleine King Brand Yes
Jerome Laxale Bennelong Yes
Andrew Leigh Fenner Yes
Sam Lim Tangney Yes
Zaneta Mascarenhas Swan Yes
Kristy McBain Eden-Monaro Yes
Emma McBride Dobell Yes
Louise Miller-Frost Boothby Yes
Brian Mitchell Lyons Yes
Rob Mitchell McEwen Yes
Daniel Mulino Fraser Yes
Peta Murphy Dunkley Yes
Shayne Neumann Blair Yes
Brendan O'Connor Gorton Yes
Clare O'Neil Hotham Yes
Alicia Payne Canberra Yes
Fiona Phillips Gilmore Yes
Tanya Plibersek Sydney Yes
Sam Rae Hawke Yes
Gordon Reid Robertson Yes
Amanda Rishworth Kingston Yes
Tracey Roberts Pearce Yes
Michelle Rowland Greenway Yes
Joanne Ryan Lalor Yes
Marion Scrymgour Lingiari Yes
Bill Shorten Maribyrnong Yes
Sally Sitou Reid Yes
David Smith Bean Yes
Anne Stanley Werriwa Yes
Susan Templeman Macquarie Yes
Kate Thwaites Jagajaga Yes
Maria Vamvakinou Calwell Yes
Tim Watts Gellibrand Yes
Anika Wells Lilley Yes
Josh Wilson Fremantle Yes
Tony Zappia Makin Yes
Anthony Albanese Grayndler Absent
Tony Burke Watson Absent
Tania Lawrence Hasluck Absent
Richard Marles Corio Absent
Graham Perrett Moreton Absent
Dan Repacholi Hunter Absent
Meryl Swanson Paterson Absent
Matt Thistlethwaite Kingsford Smith Absent
Rebekha Sharkie Mayo Centre Alliance Yes
Mark Coulton Parkes Deputy Speaker Yes
Allegra Spender Wentworth Independent Yes
Zali Steggall Warringah Independent Yes
Andrew Wilkie Clark Independent Yes
Monique Ryan Kooyong Independent No
Kate Chaney Curtin Independent Absent
Zoe Daniel Goldstein Independent Absent
Helen Haines Indi Independent Absent
Dai Le Fowler Independent Absent
Sophie Scamps Mackellar Independent Absent
Kylea Tink North Sydney Independent Absent
Bob Katter Kennedy Katter's Australian Party Yes
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 8 Yes 0 No
Angie Bell Moncrieff Yes
Colin Boyce Flynn Yes
Garth Hamilton Groom Yes
Henry Pike Bowman Yes
Phillip Thompson Herbert Yes
Andrew Wallace Fisher Yes
Andrew Willcox Dawson Yes
Terry Young Longman Yes
Liberal Party (67% turnout) 24 Yes 0 No
Bridget Archer Bass Yes
Scott Buchholz Wright Yes
Peter Dutton Dickson Yes
Paul Fletcher Bradfield Yes
Ian Goodenough Moore Yes
Andrew Hastie Canning Yes
Alex Hawke Mitchell Yes
Julian Leeser Berowra Yes
Sussan Ley Farrer Yes
Nola Marino Forrest Yes
Zoe McKenzie Flinders Yes
Ted O'Brien Fairfax Yes
Tony Pasin Barker Yes
Gavin Pearce Braddon Yes
Melissa Price Durack Yes
Rowan Ramsey Grey Yes
Stuart Robert Fadden Yes
Michael Sukkar Deakin Yes
Angus Taylor Hume Yes
Alan Tudge Aston Yes
Bert Van Manen Forde Yes
Aaron Violi Casey Yes
Rick Wilson O'Connor Yes
Keith Wolahan Menzies Yes
Karen Andrews McPherson Absent
Russell Broadbent Monash Absent
David Coleman Banks Absent
Warren Entsch Leichhardt Absent
Luke Howarth Petrie Absent
Melissa McIntosh Lindsay Absent
Scott Morrison Cook Absent
James Stevens Sturt Absent
Dan Tehan Wannon Absent
Ross Vasta Bonner Absent
Jenny Ware Hughes Absent
Jason Wood La Trobe Absent
National Party (77% turnout) 10 Yes 0 No
Sam Birrell Nicholls Yes
Pat Conaghan Cowper Yes
Andrew Gee Calare Yes
David Gillespie Lyne Yes
Kevin Hogan Page Yes
David Littleproud Maranoa Yes
Michael McCormack Riverina Yes
Llew O'Brien Wide Bay Yes
Keith Pitt Hinkler Yes
Anne Webster Mallee Yes
Darren Chester Gippsland Absent
Barnaby Joyce New England Absent
Michelle Landry Capricornia Absent
Milton Dick Oxley Speaker Absent
Totals (80% turnout) 116 Yes – 5 No