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The Forum > General Discussion > Secrecy law veils MP perks

Secrecy law veils MP perks

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The major parties have united to increase secrecy around the running of Federal Parliament, with a new law set to prevent revelations about some perks enjoyed by politicians.

Three departments that oversee Parliament - with an annual budget of $170 million - will be given a blanket exemption from freedom-of-information laws.

The government claimed an ''anomaly'' had been found last year when Fairfax Media obtained information about former Speaker Peter Slipper's travel, catering and clothing purchases.

The new law has been rushed through the House of Representatives even though the results of an independent review on the issue is expected to be released soon, and the departments involved admit they do not need a blanket exemption.

Despite this week's collapse of the bipartisan deal on extra public funding for political parties, the Coalition backed the FOI law change, which both major parties say simply restores the previous understanding that parliamentary departments are exempt.

But lawyer and FOI expert Peter Timmins said the move flew in the face of openness and questioned why it was done when the review's findings were so close.

''These three agencies receive about $170 million in public money to assist in running the Parliament and provide services to members and senators,'' he said. ''Blanket exemptions are troubling.''

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/opinion/political-news/secrecy-law-veils-mp-perks-20130531-2nhi2.html#ixzz2UyEQMivb
Posted by praxidice, Saturday, 1 June 2013 11:25:35 PM
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praxidice
I am glad you raised this topic.

"The new law has been rushed through the HOR even though the results of an independent review on the issue is expected to be released soon, and the departments involved admit they do not need a blanket exemption."

It beggars belief that these 'interim' laws have been pushed through given the independent review hasn't even tabled their recommendations.

The only conclusions one might make is that either the results are already known and this is a prepatory step; or if the results are not known the parliamentary departments want a halt on any pesky FOI applications to prevent any getting in and missing the cut-off point before the secrecy laws are fully implemented.

It is all moot anyway. There is no valid reason why the parliamentary departments should be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Why is it the only time in Parliament there is bipartisan support on anything is in self-interested proposals such as secrecy, ministerial salaries, entitlements and political donations?

The answer is obvious but will voters let the majors get away with it? The answer is yes they will.
Posted by pelican, Sunday, 2 June 2013 10:51:17 AM
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Pelican - Why is it the only time in Parliament there is bipartisan support on anything is in self-interested proposals such as secrecy, ministerial salaries, entitlements and political donations?

Any some claim I'm overly critical of our elected officials.

As Senator Madigan said last week, ''This place is rotten to the core I'd like to see it implode,'' / ''They wonder why people hate their bloody guts and we have a high informal vote.'' / ''I've run over better rabbits than these people.''

A very sad reflection on people given a position of trust
Posted by praxidice, Sunday, 2 June 2013 11:27:59 AM
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I figure that if these people are willing to go into politics, and take all the abuse they get from people in forums like this for example, then good luck to them.
Being a politician looks like a hard job to me. It needs to have some 'perks' or else who on earth would be stupid enough to do the job?

All politicians will be looking after number one of course.

Anyone who is really upset re them doing what they think is best for themselves should put up their hands for nomination to a political party job.
Posted by Suseonline, Sunday, 2 June 2013 11:31:02 AM
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Suse
I have to disagree with you on this topic. While politicians are not all the same, there are some good ones in the mix, the job is not for people who seek perks or who wish to hide perks by exempting use of public revenue from the FOI Act.

The perks are already inherent in a good salary with secure retirement prospects of which most people are not afforded. The perk is the opportunity to do something good for the electorate.

I don't buy the idea that it is a hard job. It is a job made harder by the parties themselves. If politicians acted with greater integrity and openness there would not be the cynicism that is pervading our system. The rhetoric used in Parliament is also indicative of the rot in the system. Unfortunately it does sound cynical but there is great room for improvement and so far the two major parties are still not listening.
Posted by pelican, Sunday, 2 June 2013 11:42:12 AM
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Suseonline - Anyone who is really upset re them doing what they think is best for themselves should put up their hands for nomination to a political party job.

Been there, done that & have the T-shirts to prove it

Unfortunately the reality of the present-day political circus is that one only gets to the preselection stage when the party heirarchy is 200% certain one will happily prostitute whatever principles one might have once had to the greater glory of said party. Basically to be a member of the major parties & even most of the minor parties, one has to be a totally self-serving grub, totally devoid of any redeeming features whatever. How do you think the red-headed witch & the RAbbott got where they are ??

Thankfully there are a few halfway decent people popping up, like Nick Xenephon, John Madigan, Big Clive etc. Hopefully bit by bit we'll see the decent ones retaining their integrity and edging out the crap.
Posted by praxidice, Sunday, 2 June 2013 12:21:55 PM
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