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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1278

Senator FARRELL (South AustraliaDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (19:30): I rise to support these bills on behalf of the opposition. The reform has been a long time coming. We have needed this reform ever since the former member for Mackellar decided that a helicopter was an appropriate form of travel. The independent review into parliamentary expenses undertaken by eminent Australians, including David Tune and John Conde, suggests a raft of recommendations to overhaul parliamentarians' expenses. We understand that further legislation to implement those recommendations is imminent and we eagerly await its introduction.

This bill is an important first step in the establishment of an independent authority to administer the work expenses framework. This authority will provide the assurance to the public that parliamentarians' expenses are being managed efficiently. It will provide the transparency and accountability required to restore faith in the system with the Australian public. Importantly for those present, it will provide an opportunity to ensure that the management of expenses is clear, concise and unambiguous. Labor supports the establishment of this authority. We support this reform in its current form and we support the passage of the bill immediately.