Senate debates

Thursday, 16 February 2017


Senators' Interests Committee; Reference

11:28 am

Photo of Richard Di NataleRichard Di Natale (Victoria, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

The Australian Greens understand that the electorate allowance exists to allow members of parliament to conduct their parliamentary business to engage in electorate activities. One thing the electorate allowance is not intended for is to be used as a supplement to people's salaries. At the moment it is entirely possible—indeed, we know—that some members of parliament have used it in this way, as a way to ensure that people top up their salaries. That is not what the electorate allowance is intended for. It should be spent on the electorate; it should be spent on MPs going about their parliamentary business. If the government and the opposition—we all support this—want to ensure that this money is in fact being spent for those reasons then we need to have legislation in place or, at the very least, an inquiry looking into a way to enforce that ruling. At the moment MPs can pocket it without spending a cent on their electorate, and we do not think that is right.


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