Thursday, 7 September 2006
Schedules 1 and 3 to the Parliamentary Entitlements Amendment Regulations 2006 (No. 1)
Motion for Disallowance
What the Senate has been hearing in relation to this debate has been a whole stack of hyperbole and exaggerated rhetoric. Mr Acting Deputy President, what we as a Senate ought consider in examining the assertions of the Leader of the Opposition in this place is when the printing allowance came into being. The printing allowance for members of parliament came into being under the Australian Labor Party government in the year 1990. And do you know what? Was the Labor Party’s printing entitlement in 1990 limited? It was not. It was uncapped. It was the reforms of the Howard government—indeed, whilst I was Special Minister of State, if I might say—that put a cap on the expenditure of the printing entitlement.
So it is a nonsense when the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate comes into this place and asserts that this is somehow a political fix for the re-election of the Howard government, because under Labor’s jurisdiction there was no cap in any way, shape or form. And so of course you had people like the person whom we nicknamed ‘Bob the printer’. I think he was the former member for Paterson. We called him Bob the printer. What occurred was that people were expanding—