Selstra junk-mail foiled – sort of

Matt Price always a master at reporting the shenanigans at Parliament House has a short article in the Sunday Telegraph, which I stumbled upon by accident. The story focused on the Senate vote to increase the printing allowance of every MP to $150,000. You might recall that Peter Andren a couple of weeks ago expressed his rage at such largesse, in interviews being quite quick to link the increase with the Coalition’s desires to sell Telstra to a skeptical rural electorate.

The irony is that in a strange quirk of circumstances the motion for the expense increase was defeated. I will allow Matt Price to take up the story:

“On Wednesday, Special Minister of State Eric Abetz tried to slip the printing allowance increase through the Senate with a bunch of other regulations governing MPs’ perks. Most of the perks involved raising Opposition entitlements, such as mobile-phone use and charter travel, to a parity with government perks.

Initially, Labor was not prepared to ‘cherry pick’ the amendments for fear of robbing itself or resources.

But Greens Senator Bob Brown produced an amendment targeting only the $25,000 increase in printing.

For reasons too complicated to explain, Brown was only able to do this because Abetz, in Labor Senator Robert Ray’s words, ‘fell asleep at the wheel’ during debate.

While Abetz was napping, Brown’s disallowance motion was given the all clear.
Now that the printing increase was isolated, all non-Government parties jumped to support Brown’s motion.

Abetz was furious and threatened to expose Opposition MPs and senators otherwise-secret mobile-phone and photocopying tabs.

He also tried to amend Brown’s motion to deprive minor parties of other agreed perks. But this ploy failed.

Brown’s disallowance motion was put to a vote and passed through the Senate. It saves taxpayers roughly $4 million a year, which might otherwise have been wasted on political pamphlets and junk mail.

Still, don’t throw out your recycling bins. During a three-year term of government, MPs can still spend roughly $60 million on printing, the bulk of that back-ended for use in the run up to an election.”

In this instance hats off to Bob Brown. Having said that, being in the ultra-marginal electorate of Parramatta I’m sure there will be another Ross Cameron fridge magnet coming in the mail sometime near the next election. Considering the Amazon of junk-mail that regularly arrives, I almost entertained a more fearful explanation. Maybe some sadistic part of my darker subconscious had signed me onto a Ross Cameron mailing-list. Luckily, when you consider the millions poured into Ross Cameron’s campaigns, a more rational explanation is forthcoming.

There was a day when Labor was the master of the marginal campaigning. But if you compare the resources poured into the Cameron camp coffers with those of his 2001 opponent, the very-talented David Borger, the difference is staggering.

However, I have the impression that in the next election David might finally slay Goliath. All Labor has to do to win this seat is get Ross Cameron to open his mouth – for a MP in a marginal seat he sure is famous for rambling on in the most ridiculous manner on some very unpopular subjects.

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cs
cs
2022 years ago

Beggers can’t be choosers Stephen. So, yes, Hats Off to Senator Brown.