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Thursday, 17 November 1983
Page: 2910


Mr LLOYD(8.02) —by leave-I move:

(1) Clause 3, page 2, paragraph (a), lines 4 and 5, omit ', by courier service' .

(2) Clause 3, page 2, paragraph (b), line 10, omit paragraph (b) of the proposed definition of 'postal article'.

(3) Clause 5, page 2, lines 20-38, omit proposed section 10.

The amendments to clause 3 are consequential to the major amendment, which is to clause 5, and seek to remove all references to the courier service. The effect of the amendment to clause 5 is to omit proposed section 10, which refers to the re-introduction of the courier service of Australia Post. The Minister for Communications (Mr Duffy), in concluding his remarks just prior to the suspension of the sitting for dinner, made the point that the courier service had been introduced by Australia Post in 1976 and abolished by the previous Government following the review of Commonwealth functions undertaken in 1981. I understand that at that time it enjoyed about 10 per cent of the postal courier business. I acknowledge that one of the Bradley recommendations is that Australia Post be allowed to recommence a courier service but the Opposition opposes this because it believes that it is impossible for such a service to engage in fair competition. The whole cost of superannuation will be excluded from consideration as part of the cost of the service. I have been advised that none of the fixed costs will really be taken into account, although the superannuation cost alone due to the generosity of the superannuation arrangements, is four times that of a competing private service. I remind honourable members that one of the other recommendations of Bradley is that there be a separate superannuation fund for Australia Post, one which would be more commercial, if you like, more a form of superannuation that would be compatible with that available to the private sector and therefore to competitors in the courier business.

I am also told that although Australia Post claims that it will keep separate accounts, such accounts will never be made public. How can there be public accountability for a service if no one can ever gain access to its accounts? There will not be true accountability. No one, in the Parliament or elsewhere, will be able to find out whether a commercial service is actually being operated . I believe that before the Opposition would be prepared to consider allowing Australia Post to revive its courier service business some of the other recommendations of Bradley should be adopted. I refer to the provision of superannuation on a different basis, one properly accounted for in costing, along with such other fixed costs as those for vehicles and furniture. Genuine public accountability should be required.


The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN (Mr Rocher) —The question is that the amendments be agreed to. Those in favour say aye, to the contrary no. I believe the noes have it.


Mr Lloyd —A division is required.


The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN —Two voices are required for a division to be called. The noes have it.

Amendments negatived.

Clauses agreed to.

Clause 6 (Commission may act as agent, etc.,).