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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 448

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (12:24): I move:

At the end of the motion, add:

“and in respect of the Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Bill 2017, the provisions of the bill be referred immediately to the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 28 February 2017”.

In speaking to this motion, I do think that we should give those impacted by this legislation the right to be heard. This does not affect many people. Can I just say to those in the media who will misinterpret my comments—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald, please resume your seat for a moment. Senators, it is a bit difficult to see who wants the call, so if you wish to remain in the chamber, please take your seat. Senator McAllister on a point of order?

Senator McAllister: Madam Deputy President, I am just looking for some clarification on the legislation that Senator Macdonald is referring to. I could not hear what he said at the beginning of his address.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Macdonald is seeking to amend the motion in relation to the life gold pass bill. Senator Macdonald.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I am sorry people have left the chamber, because I have not been able to speak to colleagues, but I had hoped they would stay and listen to the argument. Can I say to the media, who will misinterpret my motives: I will probably leave this place in a box, so this will not relate to me. If I do not, the last thing I want to do ever again, after 27 years of flying from Townsville to Canberra to do my job here, is sit on a plane. But there are a group of people for whom the Life Gold Pass was part of their arrangement when they served in this place, on far fewer conditions and less remunerations than any of those who serve now. This was part of the deal. There are only a couple of dozen, perhaps a couple of hundred, elderly former parliamentarians who would be affected. So none of you would care too much about this. But they should at least be given the chance to voice their views by appearing at a parliamentary committee. It would also allow the Law Society and all of those others who continually make submissions about retrospective legislation to come in and give advice and evidence to a parliamentary committee about the ills of retrospective legislation—and that is what this is.

We know the public hate all of you—and you bring it upon yourself, because you continually denigrate yourselves. But at least let these people who are affected come in and have their say, importantly, on the ills of any sort of retrospective legislation—even legislation that does something for a group of people as unpopular as former politicians and former prime ministers. Let the Law Society again confirm to us how bad any retrospective legislation is. You may not like this. The public will hate it. Former prime ministers and parliamentarians are the lowest, in their view. But these people are entitled to what was agreed upon in legislation 20 and 30 years ago, and it should not be taken from them. No legislation that is retrospective should ever be adopted this parliament.

We will debate the issue later on, but I ask the parliament at this stage to at least give those affected the opportunity of having their voices heard, because that has not happened so far. Let us further consider the ills of any form of legislation that is retrospective. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The time for this debate has expired. To be clear, Senator Macdonald wishes to amend the motion put by Senator Bushby. The question is that the amendment moved by Senator Macdonald be agreed to.

Question negatived.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.