Brian Mitchell, the federal Labor MP for Lyons, has used his first speech in the House of Representatives to suggest that every federal MP be given $1 million to spend in their electorates.
He said it would be a much better way to spend $150 million than on a marriage equality plebiscite, and noted it would even be $10 million less expensive.
“Here’s my suggestion, for what it is worth: let’s have a free vote in the parliament, where all the arguments for and against can be freely discussed,” Mr Mitchell told parliament.
“And then let’s give every Member in this place $1 million, which they can distribute throughout their electorate to community and sporting groups, volunteers and others.
“One million per electorate could do a lot of good. And there would still be at least $10m left over. Anyway, just a suggestion – it seems a much better way to spend public money.”
Mr Mitchell noted the estimated $160m cost of the marriage equality plebiscite was the same as the annual value of Tasmania’s entire production of spuds.
“So we are not talking small potatoes,” he said.