Thursday, 16 February 2017
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (20:44): I move Greens amendment (2) on sheet 8066:
(2) Page 43 (after line 5), after clause 63, insert:
63A Electorate allowance
Despite any provision of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973, if the Remuneration Tribunal determines an electorate allowance for members of parliament, the Remuneration Tribunal must:
(a) require the electorate allowance to be deposited into a separate account of the member; and
(b) prevent the electorate allowance being taken as income by the member.
This covers the important matter of the electorate allowance. The senators would have heard from Senator Richard Di Natale on this matter earlier. This puts in place the important provision with regard to ensuring that the money in our electorate allowance is actually spent on our electorate work. That is a very basic requirement. It is extraordinary that people would disagree with it and not get those provisions in place.
To set it out: how it would work is that, despite any provision in the act that covers the Remuneration Tribunal, if the tribunal determines an electorate allowance for members of parliament, the Remuneration Tribunal must require the electorate allowance to be deposited in a separate account from that of the member of parliament and prevent the electorate allowance being taken as income by the member. So there are two simple measures: the electorate allowance goes into a dedicated account, and it is spent on the electorate. Surely that is how it should have been set up in the first place. It looks like it was a major oversight. Let us get that sorted out now.
Bills agreed to.
Bills reported without amendments; report adopted.