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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2849


Senator HAMER(6.08) —I wish to say a few words on this subject. There seems to be an impression that the only cost involved in this full operation is the $1.3m for this temporary extension to the present Parliament House. As I am sure you are aware, Mr President, I cannot say too much about the reckless stupidity of the decision to increase the number of members of this Parliament by 35 because that would be a reflection on a vote of this Senate which was taken some time ago. Suffice it to say that my Party strongly opposed as totally unnecessary this increase by 35 in the number of members of this Parliament. I would have liked to have seen, as Senator Macklin said-and I know, Mr President, that Senator Reid wrote to you on this subject-that the people who voted for this increase should be those who doubled up in their offices to accommodate the increase. But that, for reasons we understand those people do not agree with, will not be possible.

I want to comment on the cost of what we are doing. The sum of $1.3m is to be spent on temporary accommodation. This Parliament House was built 57 years ago as temporary accommodation to last for not more than 25 years. It is still here after 57 years; apparently it will be here indefinitely. I would not be so sure about the temporary accommodation which will cost $1.3m. By the way, this Parliament House when it was built cost less than $1.3m. It has lasted for 57 years and will last indefinitely. I suspect that this temporary accommodation to be built beside the House of Representatives tennis courts will last as long. The point I want to make, apart from the total lack of any justification in the increase in the numbers of members of parliament, which my Party strongly opposed, relates to its cost. The new Parliament House will have to be extended at a cost of at least $5m. It will have to be bigger than it otherwise would have been because of the extra 35 members. The capital cost will be at least $5m . These 35 new members of parliament will have 105 staff members. The annual cost of this increase will be $5m. This is all reckless waste on which, without reflecting on the previous vote in the Senate, I am afraid I cannot elaborate. I wish the Senate had not done it. I wish this temporary wasteful extension was not necessary.

Question resolved in the affirmative.