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Surplus measure put on ice

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Australian Financial Review chief political correspondent

View more articles from Phillip Coorey

One of the government's key budget savings measures has been sent to a Senate committee and will not be debated in Parliament until later this month.

Debate on the measure which would put $760 million in unclaimed private superannuation and dormant bank accounts into general government revenue was suspended on Wednesday when the crossbenchers and the opposition complained the government was trying to ram the bill through without scrutiny.

The independents, including Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie are unhappy with the government's bid to achieve a surplus this year just for political reasons and will not be rushed.

The plan to take the unclaimed savings would come into effect on January 1, and is integral to the $1.1 billion forecast surplus for this financial year.

The opposition has also not had time to consider the bill and supports the delay.

Mr Windsor told reporters this morning he would not be rushed. He disagreed with Labor's ''surplus strategy'' and he would not back the measures unless he supported them in their own right.

The committee will hold a quick inquiry and hand down its findings on November 19, giving the government a week to secure its passage before Parliament rises for the year.

A source said the government was confident the bill would pass.

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