There was recently an announcement made that the Foreign Investment Fund rulings are to be repealed.
What are the Foreign Investment Fund rulings?
The Foreign Investment Fund rulings (FIF) are that if someone had a foreign investment that wasn't exempt then every financial year the growth had to be declared and tax paid (excluding eligible temporary residents) to the Australian Government at that person's marginal tax rate even if that person had not physically received the monies.
Things that fall under the FIF rulings are, UK Pensions, ISA's, Endowments and Investment Bonds to name a few.
There are exemptions in place which are, if the value held by you and/or your associates is under $50,000 and in the case of Pensions they are Employer sponsored ie Final Salary schemes.
What does this mean now?
This doesn't mean these investments would previously have fell under FIF rulings are completely exempt from tax.
As the old adage goes there are 2 things that are guaranteed in life, Death & Taxes. The situation proposed is that the growth which has occured on these funds/investments will have to be declared on encashment or maturity of the policies and taxed in the appropriate way.
The press release can be seen here Press Release - Bill to Repeal Foreign Investment Fund and Deemed Present Entitlement Rules to Slash Compliance Costs [13/05/2010]
Hope this helps.
p.s this is not to be taken as tax advice and is general information only, please see a Tax Advisor for specific advice.