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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 890

Mr LEE —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Special Minister of State. What facilities are available to new minority parties that emerge with parliamentary representation?

Mr YOUNG —I understand that a number of questions have been raised with the Special Minister of State and he has given me certain information which I should give to the House regarding facilities. It has been speculated that another great conservative party is about to emerge in the national Parliament and people are wondering about what entitlements will be given perhaps to the new leadership. I understand that just before lunch the Hon. Tom McVeigh was favoured to be the leader and that Mr Slipper was going to be the deputy. I will tell honourable members what the Government will do for minority parties, among other things, and I will tell honourable members what we take off Sinkers. Firstly, according to the Special Minister of State, any political party that has more than five members will receive additional staff, additional salaries, expenses, an allowance of office and an increased travelling and charter allowance. The only bad news that I have for honourable members is that this is coming at a time when the Opposition has said that the Government must show great restraint. Because we were so generous early in the period of government in giving staff to the Opposition, staff numbers will have to be shared with the old National Party of Australia and the Liberal Party of Australia. Honourable members in all the Opposition parties will have to determine amongst themselves what staff they will get. The other good news is that at the moment the new leaders of the emerging Queensland National Party would be entitled to a trip to Cocos (Keeling) Islands. I understand that the right honourable member for New England is very keen for them to take that trip.

Mr N.A. Brown —Do they get a state funeral?

Mr YOUNG —I am not too sure about the state funeral. Honourable members opposite will have to pull themselves together and get on this side of the House and that looks like being a long way off. But the other thing minority parties will get is unlimited postage and the opportunity every weekend of playing scrabble with Joh and he has never been beaten. I also noticed among the Opposition's financial backers-this will not come officially through the Government-that the leader of the white shoe brigade, Michael Gore, who is the writer in residence for the Queensland National Party, is quoted as saying prior to the $10m loan being made public at the launching of Sanctuary Cove at which Sir Joh was present:

I did but see him passing by, but I will love him till I die.

If that was not enough, he then turned to Joh and said:

I know I have much more to give, and you will have it while I live.

And Joh was probably saying under his breath: `Not as much as I have to give you'. So Mike Gore got his $10m and in return he is going to raise $25m for the Queensland National Party.

We are not quite sure what came out of the scrabble in the meeting this morning. Apparently the political parties which do not bear interference from their outside executives are now to leave it to the outside executives to determine what future action their parliamentarians ought to take. Members of the National Party in cockies corner will notice, if they look over to their right, Joh's deputies watching to see what they are up to. Old Senator Boswell is not far away. Question Time in the Senate was not very interesting. He just strolled across so that he can give a report to Joh just after Question Time about what National Party members in this place are up to. It looks like being a good Davis Cup set. Sinkers looks like winning 14-12 for the time being.