Lyne MP Dr David Gillespie said he would have liked to open an office south of Taree, because of the size of his electorate.
He was responding to an ABC report that he had argued that politicians in seats like his should annual be given:
- nearly $15,000 extra charter allowance for charter flights, hire cars, boat rides or taxis
- 14 days more travel allowance for overnight stays within the electorate
- an additional office
- one more full-time employee
Dr Gillespie’s spokesperson replied that at around the same time the electoral redistribution was foreshadowed, a panel was also looking into the resources allocated to Members and Senators to carry out their electorate duties. Members and Senators were asked to provide comment.
“After receiving many requests from people in towns such as Dungog, Gloucester, Tea Gardens and Forster-Tuncurry seeking an electorate office be located in their town, Dr Gillespie indicated he would include this request in his response to the panel,” said the spokesperson.
“Dr Gillespie discussed the idea of an additional office with other Liberal, Labor and Nationals colleagues representing rural electorates who agreed with the proposal.”
Dr Gillespie already has two full-time offices operating in his electorate. One office is located near where he lives in Wauchope, the other in Taree which he pays for himself.
The spokesman said that had the additional services been allocated to rural electorates, a third office would have been established in an area further south of Taree.
“The electorate extends across 16,099 square kilometres from the Hunter River at Maitland through to Rollands Plains. The people of rural Australia, deserve to have the best possible access to their MP and their office, similar to those who live in the city in an electorate of just 35 square kilometres,” added the spokesperson.
The ABC reported that the government has only partly adopted one of his ideas by funding an extra office in Australia’s seven biggest electorates – a group that doesn’t include Lyne.
Peter Alley, Country Labor spokesperson for Lyne, said it had taken over 12 months since the 2016 election for Dr Gillespie’s primary office to be relocated into the Lyne electorate.
“When it was, it was located in Wauchope, near the northern edge of the electorate, practically inaccessible to most of his constituents,” he said.
“Rather than have his office closer to the geographic centre of his electorate, he wants more funding for another office, higher travel expenses, more staff and a $15,000 charter allowance,” said Cr Alley.