The statement below can be attributed to Dr Monique Ryan.
Today Prime Minister Anthony Albanese informed me that I had been allocated funding for a single personal staff member to assist in my duties as Member for Kooyong in the 47th Federal Parliament.
In the previous Parliament, MPs on the crossbench were allocated four personal staff members. This staffing recognised that the workload of Independent MPs in the House is significantly greater than that of party backbenchers. Independents have to review all legislation that comes before Parliament, draft amendments, draft Private Members’ bills, and handle all media and other enquiries without the support of party apparatus. There is no political party to dictate policy positions on legislation that comes to the parliament; Independents decide every single bill on its merits.
The last four governments have progressively increased support for Independents in recognition of this workload.
After coming to power, Prime Minister Albanese stated that he wanted to work cooperatively with crossbench MPs to ensure they were able to contribute fully to the parliament’s deliberations and operations. It’s disappointing that his first act towards the crossbench is utterly at odds with that statement.
This measure is an attack on the crossbench, on its ability to function effectively and independently, to improve legislation, and to hold the government to account.