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Hold our politicians to account? We can only try.

By Neil Hogan

I think the time has finally arrived where we call all politicians for what they have become: parasites.

They will not change their ways until we ‘force’ them to change their ways, so I suggest we all become active players in the game of politics. Namely, as many people as possible should turn up whenever a politician is going to make a public announcement or simply appear in public – no matter which party they represent – and we make our presence seen and our voices heard. Call them for what they have become, as in ‘self-interested parasites’ until they prove otherwise. And to do this we expect they advocate for a Federal ICAC, and politician’s entitlements and expenses in line with standard business practices.

Why should they be able to:

a) be paid $270 per night to stay away from home in a house that is family owned (and probably negatively geared)

b) retire from politics (or not be re-elected) and claim their superannuation while being in other paid employment

c) retire from politics leave and immediately take up a position as a political adviser or political lobbyist. There should be at least a 5 year gap before that can happen

d) claim expenses to attend sporting events. If various sporting bodies want them to attend events, then either let the sporting body pay for it or they pay for it themselves

e) claim expenses to attend an event as a speaker. If the event wants them as a speaker, again, either let the event pay for it or they pay for it themselves

f) use anything apart from normal economy travel to attend duties in their line of work as a politician. Most businesses expect their employees to take the ‘best flight of the day’, which means they take the cheapest flight available, and no preference for a particular airline.

These are just a few of the perks that politicians abuse and I’m sure there are many more that could be added to the list, and it’s up to us to highlight them all.

This form of protest really needs to be an organised attack and maybe the Australian Unemployed Workers Union is just the right organisation to handle it. I would imagine that anyone on Newstart – which is very topical at the moment – should only be too happy to be a voice in this protest for change.

We do have a voice and we all should use it to bring about change that is fair and acceptable.

At the moment it is not fair. And it is certainly not acceptable.

 

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37 comments

  1. Stephen

    With all the convenient public function that politicians seem to find that just happen to coincide with some party or private occasion, I really wonder why politicians from the other parts of the country need to attend these events outside their own electorate let alone state. And if their is some central pool of requests from organisations at party HQ that they fish to find one that will suit personal or party needs. It seems the public need arises first and an occasion is found to justify charging the trip to expenses.
    Perhaps political expenses should be paid through Centerlink as should corporate welfare and handouts with 2 weekly reporting and activity statements so they can be checked.

  2. ozibody

    … Today I read a short excerpt attributed to Peter Slipper who (based upon his own experience), suggested that ‘questionable’ expense charges be handled along the same lines as he was in the cab-charge matter.

    Worth the read – appeared to be a practical deterrent ! … and there is precedent !

  3. Roswell

    Well said, Neil. It’s not as if we’re asking for much. Fairness isn’t a lot to ask for.

  4. keerti

    a link, ozibody.

  5. Kaye Lee

    It pisses me off that they blame ambigous rules. Have we elected people who are incapable of discretion? Do they think they are such celbrities that they should be paid appearance money? Do they think we are so stupid that we can’t tell their contrived “meetings” and announcements just so happen to coincide with their private functions? I know…let’s announce it on the Gold Coast…or at Uluru…let’s meet in Sydney on New Year’s Eve in a harbourside hotel.

    And this utterly ridiculous family reunion rort must stop. They have an enormous amount of time with no set commitments. Fit the family in in the 45 weeks you aren’t required in Canberra.

    “According to Department of Finance records, three members of Joe Hockey’s family, believed to be his wife and two of his children flew business class to Perth from Sydney for the purpose of family reunion with the Treasurer on April 17, 2013.

    His three family members arrived in Perth two days before Mr Hockey did for the “family reunion’’ after they left him in Sydney.

    His “reunion” cost us $14,566.”

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/treasurer-joe-hockeys-14k-family-travel-expenses-as-kids-fly-business-class-to-perth-in-school-holidays/news-story/d9c5bf516639f114afabdeae7ce05822

  6. Andreas

    it should go further.
    Limit parliamentary participation to TWO terms, then back to your earlier line of occupation. No pension scheme other than super. What,you’ve been nothing but a parliamentary staffer before? That’s just too bad.

  7. Luke

    Agree hundred percent with Neil. greedy grubs.

  8. Klaus

    Best article I have read in a while. Can only agree.

    Yes, time for action is long overdue. We need to vent our anger. Change.org should get this going on the basis of this article of truth alone.

    Boy, I am angry.

    They don’t even perform.

    What is a Barnaby relocating an office, against all best recommendations regarding cost/benefit. Who does he think he is?

    The arroganz of these people is astonishing. I suspect many have never worked in the real world.

    At the same time pressing the last drop of lifeblood out of vulnerable people.

    This is revolution stuff. Marie Antoinette (Julie Bishop/Sussan Ley/ assistant Treasurer (name escapes me)) etc…

    Ahh, stop here…………………

  9. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well said, Neil.

    My form of protest today were three phone calls to the frontbenches of the duopoly.

    My central message in all cases was twofold:
    1) significantly increase Newstart to a dignified, livable level above ‘the poverty line’; and
    2) significantly increase the allowable extra income earnt from temporary work from the current pitiful $48/fortnight to a substantial amount of several $hundreds/fortnight before Newstart starts being impacted and reduced.
    If 2) was already enacted, there would be little or no such Centrelink debt contraversy right now.

    First phone call was to Linda Burney’s Sydney office applauding her strong stance in support of Newstart and other welfare recipients, who have been severely maligned (forever but topically) over the last few weeks because of wrongly alleged debt.

    My second and third phone calls were to Alan “Trudge” Tudge’s and anti-Christ Porter’s offices, accusing both Ministers of targeting the disadvantaged and impoverished vulnerable on Welfare.

    Tudge’s staff member advised that Tudge is merely the ‘messenger’ of policy delivered by Porter. My response was that Tudge has to tell his mate, Porter to back off on the poor (or words to that effect).

    Porter’s staff member was more counter-offensive and interrupted my spiel with demanding what solutions I have. What a turkey she was to give me the opportunity to tell her to tell anti-Christ about my Micro Finance Grants and Micro Credit Loans! This is my advocacy for the unemployed and under-employed to develop and sustain their own self-employment in their own micro-businesses based on their expertise, skills and energy.

    The message of my story is that we are all impacted by the cruelty and offensiveness of this LNP Degenerate Government. They need severe pulling into line and they need to be constantly embarrassed in the eyes of the wider community so that the guileless don’t forget their reprehensible and regressive behaviour by the time of the 2019 election.

    We cannot afford to let them undermine Australia’s welfare system any further and we must advocate to Labor and the Greens how they can provide lifesaving welfare measures once they form their ALLiance Government after the LNP Degenerates’ defeat.

  10. Keitha Granville

    I think using the Australian Unemployed Workers Union to front a campaign will just give the LNP ammunition to blame Labor . We need a totally independent petition – Change.org maybe or one of the many online petition sites. We need to spread via any social media available. I have made a tiny start as you did Jennifer Meyer-Smith, but I sent emails to every Tasmanian Federal politician – members and Senators. Perhaps if we can all do that too so they are inundated with angry messages. Eventually they will HAVE to listen. I reckon if anyone stands for parliament with this as a platform would get 100% votes.
    We are as mad as hell and we should not take it any more.

  11. nurses1968

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    Didn’t you go along with the New Year resolution?
    I thought we had a resolution not to mention the farcical formal ALLiance

  12. helvityni

    Well received article by Neil Hogan, and many good posts by commenters; let’s make something positive to happen: It’s time…

  13. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    nurses/cornlegend,

    your resolution is all in your mind. Don’t worry, you can be a part of The ALLiance too. You don’t need to be left out.

    It’s all up to you.

  14. The AIM Network

    Jennifer, we can assure you that nurses1968 and Cornlegend are not the same person.

  15. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Ok, only if AIM says so.

    Same message applies to both anyway.

  16. LOVO

    But whom’s to say that nurses and corny aren’t already in some sort of an alliance…😮

  17. Ill fares the land

    Some simple suggestions.

    For travel expenses while in Canberra, reimburse actual expenses, including rental. That doesn’t stop them having their spouse gear a property and then renting it to them, but at least the cost to the taxpayer is capped at the actual outlay and they don’t get to pocket thousands per year in unspent allowances – noting that under current tax rules, “reasonable travel allowances” (in other words, those paid to “public servants”) are assumed to be fully expended, so the allowances pay their spouse’s mortgage, but the allowances are wholly tax-free. This is a dirty little lurk that many public servants use to boost their salary.

    For their pension, the rules have to be changed so that if they continue to work, they can’t draw their pension. Simple. Their pension gets paid on actual retirement – not merely retiring from politics. No double dipping – period.

    Then the ultimate corruption – taking jobs with those for whom the politicians have done favours – as suggested, at least a 3-5 year mandatory period where such appointments can only be accepted if it can be shown the job had nothing to do with their political role – an independent tribunal reviews this and rules.

    The rules for sporting events, NYE parties and polo matches – if the costs would not be tax deductible if claimed by a “normal taxpayer” (and can’t normally be because the costs relate to entertainment – regardless of whether there is a “business element” or “business discussions” occur), then the costs are paid out of their own pocket – or paid for by the beneficiary of their favours and with full disclosure.

    If they travel and choose to use business class, they are reimbursed for the cost of an economy class ticket. Perhaps they can be granted a capped amount of travel – if they choose to use it for business class, they take less flights.

    One of the gravest issues in the outrageous abuse of ENTITLEMENTS is that the politicians think they are so valuable and so underpaid that we should be happy to allow them some extra “treats”. But, taking Ley’s ridiculous claims for flying to an NYE party, this is all about her being courted by, or rewarding, a generous party donor. How does this relate to them doing their jobs which are, as far as I understand, governing for all Australians?.

  18. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well said, Ill fares the land.

    LOVO, no doubt they have some pact but it’s nothing like what I’m talking about, lovey.

  19. nurses1968

    The AIM Network
    thank you ehoever you may be for hopefully finally putting Jennifers delusions to rest
    LOVO,
    It is no secret that I am employed by corny, actually, his wife of 40 plus years to act as a personal assistant in the running of her Trusts and to assist in the families numerous Trusts/businesses.
    As he has a far greater knowledge of politics than me he was able to easily convince me that formal alliances stand a snowflakes hope in hell of getting established, and if you were trying to infer some other form of alliance I find that totally distasteful and a bit of a low shot from you.
    As for Jennifers response, that is just another low snipe which I have grown accustomed to

  20. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Sorry nurses,

    I can’t take you seriously.

  21. Julie Perrett

    How does this grab you ?? If i divide 7 500 000 by 400 i get 18, 750. So that 7 500 000 could pay 18, 500 single pensions for the week .. or Newstart for the F/N for 14, 203 people. correct me if i am wrong please .. If a single pension comes in at around $20 800 then for that $7 500 000, 360 pensioners could of been paid for the year or 546 Newstart allowances for the year. Three greedy humans allowance’s..

  22. Michelle Petrat

    Sounds like resistance is building. They have gone too far.

  23. longwhitekid

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith, I am incredulous Porter’s staffer asked YOU for solutions. Not our job! This is what we ’employ’ the MPs for and pay them an exorbitant salary and over-indulgent perks to dream up. In his ministry, Porter is one of the worst abusers of parliamentary privileges along with Joyce, Ley, Bishop (current AND former) and Brandis. These figures are easily available to any member of the public who is able to ascertain in a short time, that generally MPs claim between 440-600 per annum on average. So those spending into the millions, which you can also ascertain has NOTHING to do with the ‘importance’ of their portfolio, are an instant red flag and Porter is one of them. No wonder he keeps attacking the unemployed. Atypical distraction, which seemingly backfired into parliamentary allowances last week. Bad luck about that…

  24. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Yes longwhitekid,

    I was somewhat taken aback that the receptionist/staffer/Porter acolyte felt privileged enough to interrupt my right to voice my democratic viewpoint and then expect me to do their job for them.

    However, as I said, I was quite pleased to advocate my Micro Finance Grants (MFGs) and Micro Credit Loans (MCLs) initiatives and the young woman quickly said she would pass on the message.

    I suggest everybody SWAMPS Porter’s and Tudge’s offices (try not to be too mean to the staff in case some of them are the good people).

  25. Wun Farlung

    All meetings with ‘stakeholders’ should be easy to accomplish face to face via the all dancing all singing LNP NBN,
    Jennifer- just sent an email to my local MP… not going to stop breathing, He’s got form on travel rorts

  26. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well done, Wun Farlung.

  27. Egalitarian

    And if being a politician is your true calling isn’t that enough.Most people scrimp by every week.Artist’s and writer’s work long hours too. Enough with the pollies snouts in the trough.

  28. Ella Miller

    Hold our politicians to account,

    Having listened and read B.Obama’s Legacy Speech….to me this holds true

    “If something is wrong and needs fixing ,then, lace up your shoes and start organising”

    ….”change only happens when ordinary people get involved , get engaged , come together and demand it……strive together for a greater good”

  29. Terry2

    As regards politician’s accommodation, it has baffled me why they didn’t put in a motel style accommodation wing in the new parliament.

    The maximum that the parliament sits in any one week is four days – Monday to Thursday – so there are only four nights ‘away from home’ during the sitting period on the basis that the politician returns to Canberra on a Sunday.

    The House of Representatives sat for 51 days in 2016 (contrast with at the time of federation in 1901 – 113 days when travel from regional areas was so much more difficult).

  30. Jan

    That’s just too sensible Terry !

  31. Kyran

    Back in the 80’s, there was a band called ‘Weddings, Parties, Anything’ that made up the name out of a desire to perform publicly, regardless of the venue, in the hope of entertaining their audience and challenging social convention.

    Who would have thunk that weddings, parties anything would become the standard by which public officials justify their incessant need for subsidy on the public purse? Who would have thunk that public officials would seek to use that same purse to ‘perform’ privately, whilst telling the ‘public’ they should have no obligation for any comparative public performance?

    For all of the public largesse in providing the purse, all we should expect in return is ‘could a, should a, would a’ politics. ‘Rear vision’ politics, attempts to justify their greed and stupidity if, and only if, they are caught out.

    “Monday’s Experts
    Always know what’s best
    Always tell you what you should’ve done
    Monday’s Experts
    Always know what’s cooking
    How the game was lost and how it could’ve been won”

    “Pity you can’t put a bet on at the finish of the race”

    Like Ella Miller, I found the O’Bama (the apostrophe makes him honourary Irish) Legacy Speech a curious challenge. It pointed out the bleeding obvious. Democracy is not broken as long as there is a common interest in a common good. To claim that a broken system is the equivalent of a broken democracy is to simply deny any prospect of the dog (democracy) wagging the tail (the system). The tail has been wagging the dog for too long now.

    helvityni, it is indeed time. Ironically, Klaus reminded me of another edict from Mr Whitlam. Maintain the rage.
    Thank you, Mr Hogan. Take care

  32. Bruce

    FOI FOI FOI Can someone who is savey with the process put in a FOI request to CASA for Sussan Ley’s commercial pilot log book, a public safety record. Then reconcile this against her “charter flights for government business”. If she is recorded as the principal or co-pilot she is getting a personal benefit at tax payers unapproved expense. A more judgmental person may suggest the line has been crossed to fraud.

    Probably will not happen as who would read a post of some old bloke from the bush.

  33. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    You speak much sense, Bruce.

    Sadly FOI isn’t a simple and quick process but it would be doable for Labor and the Greens to ascertain how much Suss is lying.

  34. stephengb2014

    Bruce.
    CASA could not release that sort of material under FOI, however the AFP can access her personnal log books, as they can access fuel dockets and movements of registered aircraft via landing fees and Air Traffic records. Not to mention rented aircraft records.

    I believe there is likely to be a ton of evidence to warrant investigation by the AFP over the use of public purse for personal gain!

    I believe that all our politician’s past 10 years activities should be investigated by the AFP. Those that may have breaken the law must be charged and tried in accord with the law. Its time this trough is emptied and politicians who have deliberately broken the law treated accordingly.

    Federal ICAC now to moniter the use of all public purse expenditure, no matter who uses public funds.

  35. 245179

    steve…….many locations have zero landing fees, many a pilot does not lodge a flight plan, many a pilot does not lodge a SAR time. So “tracing” for whatever reason becomes near impossible.
    In, and out of major airports etc, does require lodgements.

  36. Alan Baird

    The worst scroungers indeed. The tepid & reluctant way politicians tackle their colleagues’ excesses is in stark contrast to the belligerence with which they attack people low on the ladder with tenths (or less) of their income. If they ARE stung by a GENUINE TIGHT set of rules and SANCTIONS (no chance) you can bet on a vicious counter-attack on those under their collective heel.

  37. Phil Atkinson

    Politicians should claim their expenses in the same way that private enterprise does – if the anticipated expense is going to be onerous, then obtain an advance to cover most of the known costs. If the expenses are of a minor nature, then politicians should pay out of their own pockets and then seek reimbursement on production of receipts. This idea of giving them an expense allowance only means the parasites will spend it. That should reduce the cost to taxpayers considerably. In addition, if expenses are falsified, the person making the claim should be sacked forthwith and all benefits withdrawn. It can only set a good example to the public.

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