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Tuesday, 11 April 1972
Page: 987


Senator WEBSTER (Victoria) - The matter which I wish to raise is of some importance to honourable senators. I did not alert the Minister for Civil

Aviation (Senator Co. ton; who represents the Minister for the Interior (Mr Hunt) that I intended to raise the matter, but he and you, Mr President, might be interested in it. I point out that an ordinary senator has had no pay increases since 1968 - which should be known to the public - and that the sitting allowance or the allowance on which a senator may live in Canberra has no; been increased since then. However, one matter which excites me even more than that is the travel assistance which is given to senators. You will be aware, Mr President, that senators in performing their various classes of work on Senate committees or as members of joint parliamentary committees believe that in their own way they work reasonably hard. Last week, as a member r>f .he Public Works Committee, I left my home State of Victoria on Easter Monday night to travel to Perth to investigate the proposed $48m extension at Garden Island for the Royal Australian Navy. It is a reasonably important project. Apparently the Government saw fit to pay my air fare from Melbourne 2,500 miles to Perth to assist in the investigation. Although members of that Committee have not youth on their side they chose to work from 9 o'clock in the morning until at least 9.30 or 10 p.m. each night.

On the Friday, commencing at 9.30 a.m., 1 with other members worked until after midday, caught an aeroplane from Perth back to Melbourne and arrived there at about 6 o'clock at night. I would be one of the most conveniently located members of Parliament so far as transport to Canberra is concerned so this matter does not concern me so much, but one member of the Opposition, who is a senior senator and who travelled on the same aircraft as myself from Perth, had the benefit of Commonwealth transport to take him only as far as Flinders Street or Spencer Street railway station. After the hard week that I have mentioned it was necessary for him to wait until about 10 o'clock at night to catch a train which finally took him about 40 miles to an adjacent town. I am not aware of the exact time that he arrived home. In my view that was a completely unwarranted situation.

We should be disgusted that the Senate provides such meagre assistance for a man who works for the people of Australia. What annoyed me more was that as I drove to my home, which is not a long way from Tullamarine, the 2-way radio in the vehicle in which I was travelling asked that car No. so-and-so pick up somebody from the airport and take him to Barwon Heads. That car would have had to travel directly past the town of Geelong where at least 2 members of the Federal Parliament reside. But those members of Parliament are unable to have vehicular transport from Geelong to the airport. I appreciate that at present the Government has a regulation which says that a member of Parliament may be picked up as far as 30 miles from the airport. But if a member lives 35 or 40 miles from the airport he cannot travel by Commonwealth car; he must use a bus or train, or his own vehicle. If he has to use his own vehicle and is not a wealthy two-car owner he has to leave his wife without a car for the week while he is away. I appeal to you, Mr President and to the Minister for the Interior to take this matter up immediately so that senators who are required to work under the conditions to which I have referred will be given immediate consideration and an adjustment made to transport arrangements.







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