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Thursday, 15 June 2006
Page: 60

Mr BOWEN (1:18 PM) —In the three minutes I have available to me because of the government’s arrogant approach to this debate on the Do Not Call Register Bill 2006 and the Do Not Call Register (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2006, I would like to say that the Howard government has been dragged kicking and screaming to the dispatch box to introduce this legislation. I pay tribute, as other members have done, to the member for Chisholm, who more than six months ago moved a private member’s bill which was very similar in content to this bill.

I was surprised to read that unsolicited calls are the biggest source of complaints made to the New South Wales Office of Fair Trading and the Federal Privacy Commissioner. Research conducted last year estimated that telemarketing companies made more than one billion telemarketing calls in Australia last year—53 calls per person or 2.7 calls per household per week. No wonder we have all been deluged with complaints from constituents about unwanted telemarketing calls.

In the couple of minutes I have available to me, I want to say something about the staff in telemarketing centres. The member for Hinkler referred to the fact that call centres create a lot of jobs. This bill is in no way a reflection on the work done by the good and hardworking people in telemarketing centres. But I ask: do those staff members really want to call people who do not wish to receive calls? Do they really want to receive the less-than-welcoming responses from the people they call? This bill is good for the industry as well, because it means only people who are open to receiving those calls will receive them. People who have no wish to receive telemarketing calls will not receive them. The United States has a do not call list and 70 per cent of people have subscribed to it. As a result of the growth of telemarketing calls, people are subscribing to private services or opting for silent numbers, which they should not have to do. This bill does, at last, after the government wasted the last 12 months, achieve that. What an outrage!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hatton)—Order! It being exactly 1.20 pm, in accordance with the resolution agreed to earlier today, I call on the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer to speak for a maximum of five minutes.