Liberal MP, Jason Falinski, has questioned an industry expert on why the Australian Securities and Investments Commission failed to insist on QSuper informing its members of changes to how fines are paid.
Last year, QSuper won a case in the Supreme Court of Queensland to charge members an extra fee that would be used by the super fund to cover any fines or penalties, a clause known as Section 56.
Appearing before a House of Representatives Economics Committee hearing, University of New South Wales (UNSW) director of the Centre for Law, Markets and Regulation, Professor Scott Donald, said the court agreed that the court process impeded potential communication with members.
“There was a deadline here that things had to be done by the first of January, or the trustee was going to be exposed,” Donald said.
Falinski asked why the court made the ruling in relation to a time constraint if the legislation had already been delayed by 12 months.
Donald replied: “I'm not going to try and defend what the court came to in that, that was a conclusion based on the evidence before them that the court took.
“I'm very much in favour of trustees being as clear in their communications to members as they can be at an appropriate time.
“Whether members could have been informed earlier. I think that's a decision that trustees need to make.”
Joining the hearing, Labor’s Dr Andrew Leigh said the questioning was solely driven by chair Falinski’s concerns and not the concerns of the committee.
“The Labor members of the committee don't share the chair’s concerns and given that there are four coalition members of whom only one is with us at the moment, I hazard a guess that perhaps not even all of the coalition colleagues of Mr. Falinski share his concerns,” Leigh said.
“We are here on a Falinski frolic doing our best to work through those issues.”
QSuper would soon merge with Sunsuper to form Australian Retirement Trust, subject to approvals.