Tony Abbott is certainly keeping up appearances. Aside from being a not-so-humble backbencher with an itchy twitter finger, he has been extremely busy for the past few months travelling the world promoting himself and getting paid to do so.
September 15-18 he was in Prague, addressing the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists. Flights, accommodation and incidentals for he and Margie were paid by the AECR.
Then it was off to New York where, on September 30, Abbott addressed the CQS Investor Forum. CQS provided travel, accommodation and some hospitality and then flew him to London for his next engagement speaking to Australian Business in the UK on October 3.
On October 4, Abbott attended the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham as a guest of The Spectator Magazine, who met the cost of travel (including the return trip to Australia), accommodation and some hospitality.
November 2, Abbott went to Port Moresby to address the Anglicare PNG annual fundraising dinner. Anglicare PNG met the cost of travel while accommodation and incidentals were covered by Airways Hotel Limited.
Then in early December, it was off to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation Knowledge Summit in Dubai. Costs associated with this visit were met by the Foundation and arranged by the Washington Speakers Bureau.
A couple of weeks later, Abbott went to Israel for the Australia-Israel-UK Leadership Dialogue, this time courtesy of the taxpayer. The Australian delegation included Opposition leader Bill Shorten, Trade Minister Steve Ciobo and ten other federal and state parliamentarians.
The speeches are excruciating – Abbott at his absolute pontificating self-promoting worst. Why on earth people are paying him to go on the speaking tour is beyond me. I very much doubt anyone would invite him back for a second go.
But more to the point, what the hell are we paying him for? The people of Warringah have every right to wonder.