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Thursday, 9 December 1993
Page: 4276

Senator COLLINS (Minister for Transport and Communications) (3.22 p.m.) —I will be very brief.

Senator Alston —Make it relevant.

Senator COLLINS —It will be totally relevant. Senator Bishop has not been a frequent visitor to the Northern Territory, but she has been there on a regular basis, I acknowledge, at the invitation of some of her conservative colleagues in the Northern Territory. I have sat here and listened for weeks now to knee-deep, po-faced hypocrisy from the opposition on this issue.

Senator Bishop —Mr Deputy President, I raise a point of order. Would you mind asking Senator Collins how this is relevant to Richmond and Mackellar?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! I am allowing Senator Collins to develop the argument. I am sure he will come to the point.

Senator COLLINS —I will get right down to the bottom line. The argument is about accusations of political preferment by politicians using their positions in parliament to enrich particular electorates. That is the issue. I have listened to the po-faced nonsense that has been run. As I have noted before, Senator Bishop has been to the Northern Territory on a number of occasions. I suggest that she have a word with her conservative colleague the Treasurer of the Northern Territory, Mr Coulter. He has recently issued a newsletter to his constituents in the electorate of Palmerston in the Northern Territory. The opening paragraph of the newsletter says:

As usual, Palmerston did well out of this year's Territory budget. As long as I remain Treasurer and Member for Palmerston, it always will.

Mr Coulter then goes on—

  Senator Hill interjecting

Senator COLLINS —Yes, it is a tad up front.

Senator Bishop —Mr Deputy President, I raise a point of order. When I moved that the Senate take note of the answer given to me, I was dealing with the question of grants made by Mrs Kelly pursuant to her program. I did not ask any questions about the Northern Territory or about matters in the territory. Would you ask Senator Collins to confine his remarks to the question that I raised?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I am satisfied that Senator Collins is seeking to address the principle of the question.

Senator COLLINS —Because of my desire to limit the length of my contribution to this debate, I will extract one or two items from the full list of gifts to the electorate of Palmerston which the Treasurer has listed on the front page of his newsletter. They are as follows: local government funding for the community hall or playgroup in Palmerston, $200,000; upgrading of the Archer sporting complex, $95,000; airconditioning of a hall and gymnasium, $350,000; Temple Terrace traffic improvements, $500,000; and floodlighting of the Moulden Oval, $120,000. I suggest that before there is any more criticism of the government, Senator Bishop might like to take up this issue with her conservative colleague, the Treasurer of the Northern Territory. I table the Treasurer's newsletter.