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Lloyd in Canberra Federal member reports



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WEEKLY COLUMN FROM BRUCE LLOYD, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR MURRAY

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LLOYD IN CANBERRA FEDERAL MEMBER REPORTS * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Thirty-Fourth Parliament has opened with twenty-four more members of the House of Representatives, but a far smaller majortiy for the Government, and a major debate to begin this Session.

To add to the interest of what could be one of the shortest ever autumn parliamentary sessions it began with a major debate ■ ( ·

on Australia's foreign affairs and defence policies.

The enlarged Parliament of 148 members of the House of Represent­

atives and 76 senators will almost certainly be the last in the

"temporary" building which has been Australia's Parliament

since 1927.

In 1988 as the centrepiece of the Australian bicentenary

celebrations the new Parliament House will be opened, and the

Government will want to delay the next election as long as

possible to coincide with the Bicentenary.

This was a major reason for the late opening of this Parliament.

The next election must be held within three years of the

opening and this allows the 1988 federal election to be in the

bicentennial year - an obvious advantage for the government

party.

The increase in Parliament has now set the size for at least

fifty years as any further increase would require an alteration

to the new parliamentary building. This could not be justified

until there was a dramatic increase in Australia's population

and M.P.s' workloads.

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The far better result for the Coalition Opposition in the

recent election has brought a more confident, aggressive and

positive group of Liberal and National Party Members to

Canberra than was the case after the 1983 election.

The Labor Party was in much the same position after the 1980

election when they could see government within their grasp

after the 1975 and 1977 conservative landslides.

Parliament is programmed to rise at the end of May so it will

be a relatively short autumn session. Major legislation will

include: a new roads grants act to distribute funds for road

construction and the establishment of a Resource Rent Tax to

apply to new petroleum developments offshore in place of

royalties and excise which would otherwise apply.

As the new Shadow Minister for Transport and Aviation my

priority along with electoral problems and issues will be

beginning to master the parameters of these two policy areas.

This will involve meeting people and organisations in

Canberra and around Australia, and reading the inevitable

reports, speeches and articles on these important subjects.

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ends