Senate debates

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Bills

Parliamentary Service Amendment (Freedom of Information) Bill 2013; In Committee

7:40 pm

Photo of Lee RhiannonLee Rhiannon (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I move Greens amendment (3) on sheet 7391 revised:

(3) Page 3 (after line 26), at the end of the Bill, add:

Schedule 2—Further amendments

Parliamentary Allowances Act 1952

1 Section 4

  Omit "There are payable", substitute "(1) Subject to subsection (2), there are payable".

2 At the end of section 4

  Add:

(2) A member is only entitled to allowances if:

  (a) the member includes a link to the Department of Finance and Deregulation website in their biographical details on the Australian Parliament website; and

  (b) the link directs the user to the individual expenditure report of that member.

Note: In 2013, the Australian Parliament website is located at www.aph.gov.au.

This sets out a proactive publication requirement of MPs' expenditure. It is actually very minimal in what it sets out to do. It creates an obligation that all senators and members be required to provide a link on their official parliamentary website to their individual expenditure reports on the Finance website. I say it is minimal because we again need to remember the experience in Scotland. Scotland has online searchable records of MPs' expenditure. All this is about is providing a link. There are a few steps one has to go through to be able to obtain the information. Why shouldn't that information be public? It is public money; it should be publicly available and easy to search. It is not good enough to say no. It is one small step to achieve some level of scrutiny of the considerable public money that we as MPs have the privilege to use. I commend the amendment to the chamber.

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