Independents, Palmer want fund for disasters and bailouts
CROSSBENCHERS in Federal Parliament, led by Fairfax MP Clive Palmer, have called for a new Australia Fund to be created to help in natural disasters and government bailouts.
As Treasurer Joe Hockey seeks to cement his reputation in enforcing the "end of the age of entitlement", the independents have called for a new approach to solving such problems.
Mr Palmer said today he would launch a Private Members Bill to create a committee to investigate the creation of the fund.
He said the current "ad hoc approach" to funding arrangements for both ailing Australian companies and natural disasters could be solved with a new fund.
The independents argued current arrangements for natural disasters and support for companies in trouble was not acting fast enough, but creating the fund would be able to.
The Palmer United Party leader also got the backing of other independents in the House, including Bob Katter, Cathy McGowan and Andrew Wilkie.
Mr Palmer said he had "identified a need" for a new approach to such support, and he believed a new fund could meet that need.
"I'm putting it forward as an idea and I want to hear what the government has to say," he said.
"The reality is the current approach is not working - if the government wants to do something, it can turn around a bill in a week, and it can have this fund running in a month."
"But they have not put forward any ideas to change the way disaster funding and support for businesses like SPC and Toyota should be done."
Mr Wilkie said while there were always "problems" with such a proposal, they could be solved, calling on the government to have the "political resolve" to back the fund.
While the independents cannot pass laws without government support, they want to ensure a parliamentary committee can investigate how such a fund would work, and how much money it would need.
It is understood the proposal had not been put to the government officially before Mr Palmer announced it.