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Wednesday, 13 November 1985
Page: 2070

Senator ZAKHAROV —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Special Minister of State. Has the Minister's attention been drawn to an article in last week's Bulletin which claims that members of parliament get $155 a day travelling allowance when travelling away from home or the national capital on official business? In view of the widespread misunderstanding in the community of back benchers entitlements--

Senator Georges —Who said that?

Senator ZAKHAROV —That is what the Bulletin said-a misunderstanding which is often fostered by those seeking to divert attention from their own tax avoidance, will the Minister correct the figure given in the article and explain the conditions under which travelling allowance can and cannot be claimed by back benchers?

Senator GARETH EVANS —The figures contained in the Bulletin article are incorrect-an utterly unsurprising state of affairs given its authorship, David Barnett. As honourable senators will be all too aware, the Remuneration Tribunal has determined that from 1 July 1985 the following rates of travelling allowance will apply to senators and members of the House of Representatives: In Canberra, $95 per overnight stay; in other capital cities, $110 per overnight stay; and in places other than capital cities, $85 per overnight stay.

Senator Georges —They are better than if you are in gaol.

Senator GARETH EVANS —These allowances are payable only in certain circumstances, which I am not sure extend to those in which Senator Georges just found himself, and for an overnight stay in a place other than their home base. The Remuneration Tribunal is responsible for reviewing the allowances of senators and members and in so doing is required to have regard to the wage principles established by the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Honourable senators will also be well aware of the conditions set by the Tribunal for payment of travelling allowances. There are many occasions when the allowance is not payable.