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Tuesday, 6 December 1983
Page: 3331

Mr DONALD CAMERON(10.12) —I want to speak about the fact that the Parliament, as a result of legislation introduced by the Australian Labor Party, is ostensibly being increased by some 35 members. When we multiply the $40,000 plus salary which has been set by the Remuneration Tribunal by-

Mr Beazley —I raise a point of order. There is absolutely no relevance to the Bill. This Bill is not about parliamentary salaries, it is about the salaries of Ministers and judges. Parliamentary salaries are automatically adjusted by the regulations that exist in relation to the Remuneration Tribunal, if the Government accepts it. It is quite out of order.

Mr Steele Hall —Could I speak to that point of order?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Rocher) —No. To the extent that the honourable member for Moreton will become relevant, if he is not already relevant, I will allow him to continue.

Mr DONALD CAMERON —Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. The facts are that the pool of 35 extra politicians which the Government is endeavouring to create, which is supported by only nine per cent of the Australian population, is seen by the Government as a means of enlarging the Ministry. That is where it is relevant. The point I make is that when we look at the move by the Government to enlarge the Ministry and the cost, if we multiply the $40,000 basic salary for a member of Parliament by 35 new members we are talking of many millions of dollars. As the years pass this will grow. I want to register one complaint. On returning to this Parliament I find that Ministers and even ordinary members of parliament are not so well equipped or so well situated in terms of efficiency, and will not be, despite the huge expenditure which is involved with this Bill, as even middle management. My office is some 500 feet from the nearest typist in the building. Ministers, who are on bigger salaries than I am, are also in that area of the Parliament. It is absolutely ludicrous that this Government will go ahead and increase this Parliament and this House by some two dozen members of the House of Representatives and another dozen or so senators. When one takes into account the cost of the Federal Government is imposing on the Australian taxpayer as a result of this increase in the Parliament it is little short of scandalous.

The honourable member for Boothby (Mr Steele Hall) mentioned the application of the 4.3 per cent salary adjustment and the larger increment which had been added in New South Wales by the New South Wales Government, led by the Premier of that State, who is also the President of the Australian Labor Party. I have been on the phone tonight talking to a couple of businessmen north of Sydney. They have told me that all over New South Wales small business is going to the wall. One of the reasons they are putting off staff is the recent increase in wages and the way this is being passed on by the New South Wales Labor Government. I contest the wisdom of a Labor State such as New South Wales so blatantly disregarding the wages freeze which has been set in place by the former Federal Government. This is causing an upward spiralling of wages once again and many jobs will be lost. It is obvious that the Labor Government in this place is seeing an increase in the size of the Parliament as a way of absorbing unemployment.

Mr Cunningham —I raise a further point of order. The honourable member is not addressing himself to the measures before the House. He is dealing with the New South Wales Government. The legislation before the House deals with Ministers' salaries. The honourable member is totally out of order.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —I remind the House and the honourable member that the honourable member for Moreton is speaking to an amendment which includes reference to the measure being an example of the failure of the Government's prices and wages policy. To that extent I think he is relevant.

Mr DONALD CAMERON —Thank you very much, Mr Deputy Speaker. I can understand the honourable member feeling uncomfortable as he has to sit there and listen to some truths. I do not know how long it will be before this Federal Government loses its direction in terms of its wages policy. In conclusion, I have referred to the huge increase which has been brought about in the size of the Parliament. The Labor Party is hoping to enlarge the Ministry. When we start multiplying a ministerial salary by the new rates which are being set, it is almost mind boggling, particularly when compared with the plight of these unemployed. I make the prediction now that, much as the Government tries to give an impression of confidence in the community, which is understandable, I believe that in the weeks ahead we will see that unemployment in Australia is on the increase and escalating and that the actions of a New South Wales Labor government will, in no small measure, contribute.