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Wednesday, 16 August 1989
Page: 199

Senator BOSWELL(7.24) —Mr President, I rise to support Senator Chaney's motion. I think it is an affront to every senator to have a letter distributed to his office virtually reducing his standing as a member of Parliament by two-thirds. Mr President, the Minister for Administrative Services (Mr West) who did this obviously has no understanding of every senator's special need. I represent the National Party and my community is the seat of Brisbane. I act for members of the National Party in Brisbane, who have no member of the House of Representatives. Therefore, my circumstances are entirely different from those of a Labor senator who would have his office in Brisbane and who can rely heavily on his Federal members of parliament.

This matter raises a number of other issues. I just look across to the Hansard desk. Again we are being devalued, as there are no Hansard reporters here, for some reason I am not sure of. It is very important that we have these very capable people here to report what we are saying so that it is put on the record. A number of other issues need to be looked at, including travel allowances. A senator who lives in Queensland, the most decentralised State of Australia, gets no allowance to go out to the wide--

Senator Knowles —Secondmost.

Senator BOSWELL —I will not argue with the honourable senator on the floor of Parliament, but Queensland is the most decentralised State in Australia. Western Australia may be the biggest State in Australia, but the needs are the same for Western Australian senators and for Queensland senators. Both States are immense and senators need the means to be able to travel around those States and visit their--

Senator McKiernan —Mr President, I raise a point of order. The motion before the Senate is that Standing Orders be suspended. If that is carried, and it probably would be carried by the chamber, there would be time to canvass the views that Senator Boswell is canvassing at the moment. I ask you to draw Senator Boswell back to the motion.

The PRESIDENT —Order! I have been very lenient in the debate. I just suggest to Senator Boswell that every now and then he use one of his arguments as to why Standing Orders should be suspended.

Senator BOSWELL —Mr President, I take notice of your ruling. I thought that I was addressing those issues. The issue before us is that a member of this Government has tried to run roughshod over the Senate by increasing by two-thirds the allowance for postage of members of the House of Representatives. Is this because we are now seeing people in the Labor marginal seats telepolling their electorates-that is, discerning who is a Labor voter, who is a Liberal voter and who is a National Party voter-then trying to isolate those swinging voters and sending massive amounts of literature out to those swinging voters to convert them to the Labor Party fold? Obviously the massive amounts of literature that they are sending out is exhausting all the Labor Party postal allowances. This is the root of the problem. The Labor Party, in its marginal electorates, coming up to an election has got all hands and the cook manning the franking machines. They are running out of postal allowances, as they are trying to use Government funds to electioneer and convert postage stamps to votes. That is why the system is being rorted by those in the Labor Party, and that is why they need an increase from $9,000 a year to $30,000 a year. It is quite ridiculous to impose those sorts of increases on the population and the taxpayers of Australia. It is--

Senator Collins —Whatever it is.

Senator BOSWELL —Whatever it is, Mr President, it should be addressed; and there is no way in the world that those in the Labor Party should be able to get away with increasing their postal allowances so they can get out and telepoll marginal electorates and then send out great reams--

Senator Collins —Aren't the Opposition members going to get it as well?

Senator BOSWELL —The Opposition members will sell their policies by normal ways, not by cheating the public and the taxpayer of postage stamps.