The majority voted against a motion to amend the Governance of Australian Government Superannuation Schemes Bill 2011. The amendment was introduced by Liberal Party MP Stuart Robert.
Someone who voted Aye supported the amendment. The majority voted No so the amendment was unsuccessful.
The amendment would have removed the power of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to nominate board members for the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, which is created by the Bill. Under the Bill, the ACTU appoints all three of the directors who represent civilian employees.
Debate in Parliament
Liberal MP Robert argued that appointments made to Commonwealth bodies “should be made by elected officials who are accountable at the ballot box”.(See MP Robert's full contribution here. ) He insisted that “the coalition do not have a problem with trade unions” but that it “patently objects to a body such as the ACTU having the power to appoint ... three members to the board that only it can remove”.
Labor MP Warren Snowdon said that the Government would not support the amendment.(See MP Snowdon's full contribution here. ) He said that there was precedent for this arrangement already in existence. Further, he argued that appointing employee representatives through the ACTU was the most reasonable and cost effective process.
Background to the Bill
The Bill is part of a package of three bills.(More information about this bill and the context surrounding it can be found here. The text of the proposed amendment can be found here.) It creates the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation by merging the Australian Reward Investment Alliance, the Military Superannuation and Benefits Board and the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Authority. The purpose of these changes is to modernise Australian Government superannuation and make it more consistent with the broader superannuation industry.