Thursday, 7 September 2006
Schedules 1 and 3 to the Parliamentary Entitlements Amendment Regulations 2006 (No. 1)
Motion for Disallowance
the articulation of opinion in this chamber. It is as much a factional move by this Prime Minister—and the likes of Senator Abetz—to restrict his opponents as it is anything else.
Some senators are able to publish their own documents because they are able to use their own resources. Senator Santoro’s magazine The Conservative is a case in point. Senator Santoro is the editor of this journal and he is clearly aspiring to be a leader within the Liberal Party. This journal draws upon the thinking of notorious people within the Liberal Party such as Mr Gerry Wheeler, who contributed to the last two editions of that journal. It is supposed to be printed quarterly—it is falling a bit behind. I read the initial issue, which was sponsored by the patron Senator Minchin. Mr Gerry Wheeler stood unsuccessfully for Liberal preselection for the Senate in 2002. He has been described by a former party colleague as:
… a hardline right-wing member of the Liberal Party who was once part of a group known as the ‘bronweenies’—young Tories who worshipped Bronwyn Bishop, who for a brief while fancied herself as a saviour of the Liberals after John Hewson lost the 1993 election.
With Mr Wheeler comes an attitude that strikes one as being like that of the rabid anti-communists of 1950s America. Formerly an adviser in Mr Howard’s office, although what he actually did there was always a mystery to most of us, Mr Wheeler is a man who detests the ALP—and the left of the Liberal Party for that matter—with a passion.
Another report suggests that Mr Wheeler has other political interests such as the right to bear automatic arms, the privatisation of the ABC and the SBS, opposition to economic sanctions against South Africa and all the rest of it. That is his long history.
So Senator Santoro’s journal is very interesting. It is privately funded by a Sydney not-for-profit company and it is not in his declaration of pecuniary interests. I always find it very interesting that this should be the case. My point is simply this: senators ought to be able to use their printing entitlement for the discussion of ideas about policy. They should not have to rely upon privately-funded, undeclared, not-for-profit companies to organise the articulation of their points of view. There should be an opportunity for senators to undertake their job properly. These measures by this government are part of a package of measures aimed not only at ensuring that the incumbency of this government is maintained but also at enabling the Prime Minister to mount a direct assault on his factional opponents. (Time expired)
That the motion (That the motion (Senator Bob Brown’s) be agreed to.) be agreed to.