JANELLE SAFFIN outside her Lismore office yesterday.
JANELLE SAFFIN outside her Lismore office yesterday.

Saffin books plane flight to Canberra

By Alex Easton Alex.easton@northernstar.com.au JANELLE SAFFIN'S first contact with the Canberra bureaucracy as the Member-elect for Page arrived in a text message yesterday.

"Book your own flight. Keep the receipt." A frantic six-week campaign is turning into an equally hectic first week as a parliamentarian to-be (it won't be official until she's sworn in after the Australian Electoral Commission finishes counting votes late this week or early next week).

Ms Saffin flies to Canberra tomorrow for her first Caucus meeting and answers on a host of questions, such as: Where will her office be?

Ms Saffin said she did not yet know whether she would be able to take over retiring MP Ian Causley's Molesworth Street office; that wasn't her only question anyway.

Ideally, Ms Saffin said she wanted two offices; in Lismore and Grafton. That's the key question she has for the bureaucrats. Until she gets an answer or until the leases run out next month Ms Saffin said she would continue to use her campaign offices in Lismore and Grafton as de-facto electorate offices.

The same goes for the offices in Casino and Ballina. However, the leases on those run out at the end of the week.

As for any grand plans for her new career as a Member of the House of Representatives, Ms Saffin conceded she'd be unlikely to knock back any offers of a ministerial posting, and pointed out that, unless their name was Peter Garrett or Maxine McKew, it's unlikely any first-term MP would be offered a portfolio.

Ms Saffin said her new job was all about looking after Page.

"I want to put forward the priorities for Page we developed through the election campaign and make sure they are heard," she said.

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