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Tuesday, 16 September 2003
Page: 15316

Senator BROWN (6:27 PM) —I agree with Senator Sherry that information should be available in general terms. The average backbencher is on a salary of approximately $100,000 and we are paying a superannuation component out of that. But, as is well known to everybody who watches this, it is topped up greatly by the public purse in a way that other people can only envy. You cannot have a piece of legislation like this where there is a major benefit to members of parliament which is not recognised as such. That is why the Greens were so keen on keeping the requirement that it be stated during the course of the debate—I did so earlier during the debate on these matters, but I will do it again—that we have a pecuniary interest involved here. Because in getting the legislation through, those who vote for it will gain greatly and those who vote against it will also gain greatly. We should recognise that, because it does influence the way that we think about these matters. It is an important exercise to go through. Unfortunately the need for that provision was taken from the statute books—and that is the way I voted earlier this week—but it is a very good case in point of where we should be aware of it and we should be stating it.