Senate debates

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Do Not Call Register Legislation Amendment Bill 2009

Second Reading

5:30 pm

Photo of Steve FieldingSteve Fielding (Victoria, Family First Party) Share this | Hansard source

The issue here is why. Why would they do that? Think about all those pre-recorded messages from the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition going through to the phone. Pollies are exempt. We cannot wait for those phone calls again—maybe from this Prime Minister. I do not know. Maybe those in 7.30 Report-land will be exempt! But this is a very serious issue. There are many vulnerable Australians, and to think that politicians are exempted! In my home state of Victoria there are two elections this year, and you can bet your bottom dollar that families across the state are going to be called up and hassled. It is a double standard and I think it is pathetic. It is not just the Labor Party that is guilty of this double standard; the coalition under the Howard government also supported this decision. I have been firm in my position from all the way back in 2006: politicians should be treated just like every other telemarketer or company and made to follow the Do Not Call Register.

Both of these issues—the issue of letting people permanently put themselves on the list and the issue of getting rid of the special exemption for politicians—are matters which need to be dealt with, not put off again for a couple of years. I have circulated amendments which address both of these issues and will continue to hold the government of the day to account on these two matters. The Do Not Call Register was put in place for a very good reason. We need to make sure that we continue to protect those Australians who want to be on the Do Not Call Register, not make it more difficult for them to avoid these annoying nuisance phone calls.

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