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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1287

Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (20:10): I also rise to speak in support of the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2017. I point out that it is not only climate change that has made this a bit of a long hot summer for Australians but also the MP scandals. They have certainly lent a fair bit of weight, impetus and urgency to the way the government is finally moving to address some of these really important issues that go to the heart of how the Australian people view us as a collective and view us as a profession. I am sure my colleagues or most of them would agree, when you get out there and ask people what they think about politicians actually the opinion is not that high—somewhere just above used car salesman and about equivalent with journalists.

Senator Ian Macdonald: That is because they know you.

Senator McKIM: It is interesting that Senator Macdonald is piping up now because it is quite ironic that here we are debating legislation tonight which is actually designed to save the taxpayer money and the filibustering diatribes and waffle we have heard coming out of Senator Macdonald are likely to have cost us a couple of hundred thousand dollars in taxpayer funds.

I foreshadow that I will be moving amendment 8074 standing in my name. This amendment, if it were successful, would be an indication from the Senate that we collectively believe that members of parliament who have misused their expenses should pay back four times the amount that was incorrectly paid to them. This is about giving a bit of teeth and a bit of a stick to this legislation because the Australian Greens genuinely believe that is what the Australian people would like to see. Ultimately, moves such as the ones we are debating tonight—even though we have been very clear that we do not think they go far enough—we hope will go some way towards restoring a modicum of confidence in politicians from the Australian community.