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A simplified guide to work entitlements and cutting costs

In order to avoid “errors of judgement” and “flights inadvertently booked for official travel rather than private”, and to help with budget repair and reducing carbon footprint, here are a few tips for politicians.

Stop flying to places outside your electorate to make announcements.

The Federal government is located in Canberra.  That is where announcements should be made.  If there is an area specific component, then the local member can elaborate to their electorate.

Stop charging the taxpayer for your attendance at sporting and cultural events.

If you have been lucky enough to be given free tickets to an event, be grateful, but pay for your own travel and accommodation.  Barnaby Joyce’s excuse that you have to hire limos or use comcars because you are obliged to drink doesn’t pass the wine bar test.

Weddings are not official business unless a foreign head of state is getting married and you are representing the government.

Claims of “networking” are not acceptable.  You should not expect to be paid for having a chat or being at the same function as someone you may have future official dealings with.  Attending a colleague’s wedding, or your own in the case of WA MP Steve Irons, is not government business.

Stop taking your spouse to work.

In 2016 the House of Representatives sat on 51 days.  That leaves 315 days when they didn’t have to be in Canberra.  There may be certain occasions where it is appropriate for your family to join you – first and final speeches for example – but to suggest that you need family reunions means you have chosen not to see your family during the 45 weeks you are not in Canberra.

Do not organise meetings around visits to your investment properties or parties you want to attend

It is a very bad look to have a contrived meeting and then go on to your investment property or hobby farm.  And last minute photos just before you fly out after attending parties do not entitle you to claim for travel and accommodation.

Stop the narcissistic need to have your photo taken.

It is not necessary to fly thousands of kilometres to have your photo taken with a shovel to announce investment in building infrastructure.  It is not necessary to shut down a workplace so you can be filmed on the factory floor.

Use skype and teleconferencing

Flying dozens of bureaucrats business class from Canberra and all over Europe to get together in Paris to discuss how they can cut costs is not productive or cost-effective, or even vaguely justifiable.  Use Skype and tele-conferencing and emails.

Use the internet instead of study tours

Going to a golf tournament on the other side of the country, Steve Irons again, or having a between flight layover in Kuala Lumpar, Barnaby Joyce, do not constitute “study”.  You can save time and money by researching on the internet or asking the many experts specifically employed to do research for the government.

Stop using accommodation allowances to pay off your mortgages.

I know you all do it, and it is “within the rules”, but that doesn’t make it right.  Change the rules.  And while you are at it, build an accommodation wing on Parliament House and we could save a fortune on accommodation allowances, comcars and security whilst reducing wasted travelling time and increasing politicians’ productivity.

Reduce your number of offices

There is absolutely no need for MPs to have multiple offices.  It’s not like they are sitting there at the counter waiting to have a chat with you.  Use communication technology to engage with your constituents.  Answer their emails or their questions on facebook.  Return phone calls where necessary.  Shopfronts do not equate to availability.

 

There are countless examples of enormous waste in government spending – welfare is not one of them.

Get your own house in order.

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46 comments

  1. etnorb

    Nicely put Kaye! But I would like to add a few more to your list. ALL Politicians to be remunerated ONLY whilst serving in Parliament–remove ALL “entitlements” (sic) after retiring, not staying in Parliament–remove ALL “unnecessary” “entitlements (?)–require ONLY “Parliamentary business (?)” to be allowable & payable–remove ALL parliamentarians Superannuation monies once they leave Parliament–require ALL non-serving (ex) politicians to have to apply to Centerlink for any pension or welfare they may need–ensure that they ALL only “get” the same remuneration (as a pension etc), as the rest of Australian citizens are able to get–DO not pay for ANY stay in Canberra (when Parliament is sitting) for ANY other than a “reasonably priced” hotel/motel room–& the list could probably go on, but I am sure there will be other contributions to these suggestions.

  2. Wayne Turner

    Spot on.

    Can add this one,that king rorter Abbott’s done: Do NOT claim entitlements for volunteer work. And you can NOT claim entitlements for promoting your own book,and in fact for any self promotion.

  3. Diane

    If these sleazy politicians insist on acting as if they are royalty, then maybe it’s time we start to look at the French Revolution Handbook…

  4. Klaus

    Absolutely love it. You stated nothing, which would not be expected in private business. As I am working in a private business, all these rules above, are so common, that there is no need for employees to ‘learn’ them, so as to not accidentally trip up.

  5. Kaye Lee

    I also think they should be precluded from accepting other paid employment whilst they are in parliament. This being paid to go on the speaking tour is just wrong. You have a job that requires your presence and your attention. They say they work so hard yet they all seem to find time to write books whilst working.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Sussan Ley has stood aside pending investigation of travel claims – she says she has nothing to hide and this is not an admission of guilt

  7. kerri

    And if any politician is found to have conducted personal business whilst on a taxpayer funded trip the entire costs must be paid by the member. No exceptions! No excuses!
    In the interest of austerity measures being applied to everyone in Australia (especially if you are one of those elderly, disabled, unemployed or any other welfare bludger) spousal travel must be covered by the relevant member.
    Also Kaye Lee spot on with the accomodation wing! Any meals taken outside of the Parliament house dining room are to be paid by the member.
    If this doesn’t suit? Get another job! The public will not miss you!
    They think they deserve the pay and conditions of private industry but will not be held to account for their mistakes and inefficiencies as they would in private industry.
    Ley would have been sacked. As would Joyce, Porter, Tudge, Abbott etc etc etc
    Bill Shorten??? You want to be PM?? Make these suggestions policy and you will romp it in next election!

  8. Alan Baird

    I love Barnaby’s sense of annoyance that anybody would whinge about this issue. Such judgement. And that rare thing among politicians, his excellent timing alongside the contemporaneous Centrelink debacle so as to confer a “compare and contrast” view of Barnaby’s reactions to both. Always enjoyable to watch the “groan up” party arrange another debacle.

  9. Phil

    Well said Kaye Lee – all valid points. I am forwarding the suggestions to my local federal MP – she happens also to be yours if I am correct in that assumption.

    I think the next election will be a change maker – perceptions of corruption both soft and hard taint the liberals and nationals who appear to hold the voters in contempt as evidenced most recently by the hapless and dishonest Minister Ley.

    The casually and conveniently forgetful Arthur Sinodinos has been put in Ley’s portfolio – good grief!

  10. passum2013

    Keep putting in the boot wear them down one at a time time for renewal

  11. margcal

    1. There is also the environmental cost of flying to consider.
    2. The parliamentary library staff are trained to do research and can provide most wanted/needed material via their own collection or via formal and informal networks world wide.

  12. Andrew

    I would change the office entitlements a little bit. If the Politician is representing a large electorate then a couple of offices could be argued as value for money, but not in a major city. A federal ICAC is now more needed than ever, but, I don’t think either major party wants one, just look at NSW ICAC and you’ll understand why.

  13. helvityni

    This wonderful list of what not do/ and what to do should be given to every Aussie politician, no matter what the party they represent; to all the old rorters, and the newcomers.

  14. lawrencewinder

    I think they may need an audit of the bed-pans, water bottles and brown paper bags before Arfah, Da Spiv replaces Sussan the Suss!

  15. zoot

    We don’t need to build an accommodation wing.
    With the downturn in mining there must be heaps of FIFO single quarters available at a very reasonable price.
    Put them in dongas.

  16. helvityni

    lawrencewinder, some prefer $inodino$…..

  17. Gangey1959

    Spot on Kaye Lee.
    If it wouldn’t work for a business, it wont work for a politician.
    The trouble is our lot from Canberra don’t have rules, they have guidelines, which consequently have a nasty habit of getting a bit smudgy around the edges, so it’s no wonder really that ms ley got herself a bit caught up in the excitement of having $800G in her purse and being in Brizzy at chrissie for the guvvermint and being in a special jet whilst playing monoploy to pass the hours and hours it takes to fly to the goldcoast, so when she said”I’ll buy it” out loud, the window must have been down and the auctioneer heard her dulcet tones above the roar of the crowd and jet wash.
    Never mind, uncle arfa sinnerdi’nremembernuthin will get it all sorted while her new apartment is being gift wrapped and she is being measured for a new portfolio, because let’s face it, ms ley’s a flop in her current one if this is her first new house considering all of the shit she has caused her bosses. I wonder what colour she will be in, and where we will be flying her this time for the announcement? (Just a thought, but maybe she could get the gong as ”ministress of bloody cold” down in Antarctica. For those of you not in the know, there is a huge chunk of shelf ice just waiting for a good reason to break free from the rest of the pack and tour the world, so if we set her up on that bit, she would end up with free travel to any number of random locations.)
    I assume that the federal aturdingeneral will be there with his besty arfa to take notes, just in case anything really naughty that comes up might have to become a classified document. Mind you,baldy george is still trying to work out where the switch to his solar powered brain-cell is so he might be using one of those parliamentalcase sechetarial services brought to us by the ipa.
    Having just watched some of the tennnnnnnnnnis and crikit, boring as batshit though it usually is, a tightening up of parliamentary rules (aka introducing some) would allow We the Voter a chance to appeal some of the decisions, and we could get ”Hawkeye” and ”Snikko” up live in the corner of our tellys to gauge whether in fact the respective ministers had in fact ”F*cked up Royally” or were perhaps within the bounds of reason in believing their own bullshit. A couple of terms in the SinBin, with all expenses repaid and all properties, promotions, Jobs for Mates, or whatever may have gone on will soon sort out the shit from the clay, and in my opinion Australia will have a much cheaper to run Parliament, and a f*cking big pile of fertiliser in the back yard of Kirribilli, or Talcum’s house, or wherever that kind of crap gets put.
    Maybe there is a big pile of f*cked pollies along with a few mattresses, a couple of broken tellys, some old book cases and a rusty exercise bike just outside the back security gate. I reckon with a bit of thought I could turn an old pollie into an umbrella stand and sell it at my local craft and crap market.
    Does anyone know whether I have to declare the earnings to Centerlink?
    BTW @Dianne. We need start at the back, reading forward, and see how many pages we can expurgate between the front cover and the conclusion. Then we send a ”revised” edition to Canberra.

  18. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    The funny thing is she is claiming she did nothing wrong – so how does she explain her dodgy story about buying the property just on the off chance. By changing her story, she has already admitted her guilt – she knew it was wrong, but she thought she wouldn’t get caught.

    Kaye – a great set of guidelines. I am going to send these to my local Liberal MP, the completely inappropriately named Ian Goodenough (he certainly isn’t). Perhaps this time he might reply, but sitting in his very comfortably safe seat, I very much doubt it. But hopefully it will play on his mind… Given that he is a happy clappy, I wonder if I can weave some religious element into it…

  19. jim

    The Republic of Australia is needed to change the commonwealth outdated laws.

  20. totaram

    All great suggestions. Please pass them on to the” relevant authorities”, although I doubt if anyone is listening!

    Why would they listen? They are only there to carry out the instructions of their puppeteers in the IPA and their “donors”, and in the meantime, they want to get their hands on as much of the loot as possible. It’s so glaringly obvious to all but the brainwashed. Sadly, even the Labor politicians are not interested in tightening up these rules or having a federal ICAC. Why is that?

  21. John Brame

    Bravo Kaye Lee. flying is a big CO2 contributor and unnecessary flying really gets my goat.

  22. Sharon Ponder

    Can we please stop referring to them as ‘entitlements’ and call them what they are – work related expenses.

  23. Matters Not

    call them what they are – work related expenses.

    Except they’re not – depending of course on the definition of ‘work’ employed. Going to a ‘party’ on New Year’s Eve is ‘work’? Flying to the Gold Coast for a New Years Eve party with Sarina is work? So much so, you line up the next year as well.

    The mind boggles.

  24. Kaye Lee

    They claim them under the Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990. I agree the term invites exploitation.

  25. Matters Not

    Just on Sarina, her business expanded more than 300% via the Job Active initiative.

    It ‘pays’ to be close to the action. Sarina knows that – and that’s why she is openly courted by both sides, with encouragement.

  26. Kaye Lee

    Interesting to hear Brandis has claimed to go to yet another party. I thought I would look up what he has been up to lately, aside from ripping us off.

    His facebook page has an October 29 post

    “It’s time to move on from the fiasco with the Solicitor General. I am very happy to continue serving as the Attorney General of Australia.”

    Next post, December 29

    “I have the strongest belief and absolute confidence in our new Solicitor General.”

    That’s it.

    And just to rub it in, this is George’s facebook pic

    https://scontent-syd2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/13321978_1712246352346897_2419853346711426564_n.jpg?oh=72fe290b0b97c379289736f18e36c480&oe=59195D30

    Nice bookcase George

  27. Matters Not

    Guess what, this time around it’s the ‘socialists that did it.’

    Ms Bishop said that she didn’t have specific knowledge of how Ms Ley’s travel was arranged “but I do know that there are socialists out there who want to attack free enterprise and anyone who sticks up for it. And I know that socialists, like alcoholics, will blame anyone but themselves. And whereas alcoholics can damage their own families, socialists can destroy the whole country.”

    Here was Ms Ley happily rorting the system – being a strong advocate for the free enterprise ‘rorting’ – and she was brought down via the socialists. Hilarious!

    Time she went elsewhere? Perhaps a kerosene bath or two? Can you believe we still pay her pension and allow any number of flights per year? We deserve what we get!

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/socialism-on-the-march-to-blame-for-sussan-ley-standing-down-over-expenses-controversy-bronwyn-bishop-20170109-gto8q6.html

  28. Kaye Lee

    Ahhh yes…Polticial commentator and defender against terrorism, Bronwyn Bishop

    https://assets.change.org/photos/6/kn/ja/LPkNJANIkfIwtLN-800x450-noPad.jpg?1472442137

  29. Keitha Granville

    Brilliant Kaye, perfect. It is so bleeding obvious to all of us so why can’t someone in a position of power DO something about it ?
    You would think Labor would be all over it – they’d get an 80% swing across the whole country if they did.

  30. Matters Not

    re Bishop the Elder, I will always remember her on the ABC asserting (strongly).

    I am a strong believer in individualism – that why I joined the Liberal Party.

    Needless to say, the ‘irony’ went over the heads of the assembled, And still does.

    That an espoused believer in ‘individualism’, could contemplate, and then take action by joining a ‘collective’ – otherwise known as a political party – and boast about same – without recognising the inherent irony – continues to amaze.

    (BTW KL, KL usually stands for Kuala Lumpur).

  31. Alan Baird

    Yes, you would think Labor would be much more all over this “Ley down misere”. Trouble is, they possibly have a sneaking suspicion that the words will have scarcely left their lips when a party colleague will be found with their dabs all over something similar. You just KNOW that some F-wit will wait AT LEAST 2-3 weeks after an election win before a foray into dodgy claim territory. The Labor Party have the DNA, however, to genuinely make the changes. Whether they have personnel among the current office-holders, mostly with Tony-Blair-Third-Way-style weasel leanings would be an extremely moot point. Bill Shorten has similar leanings.

  32. wam

    Kaye, it is easy to pick on barnaby for charging the gov to get home after gina dumped him in india but julie and teresa were on the same educational tour of the KL highway?

    Sorry Alan shorten leans towards trunbull but sways with a smile when kneaded.

    If only the prick would move!!!!

  33. Jack Straw

    I think Politicians are bored out there brains most of the time. That’s why they get involved in sex scandal’s.The modern scandal is they are addicted to the get rich quick schemes like residential property investment. The only thing in their eyes at the moment are $ signs.Especially the debauched Liberals.

  34. Ella Miller

    Just a thought,
    Could it work if politicians had to pay all travel expenses out of their own pockets first. Then apply to be reimbursed to an oversight group,who will examine , reason for expense , trends in the expense claims (trips by Ms Ley to the Gold Coast).
    Their claim would not be repaid till all clear given.
    This kind of a system would not have paid TA when he was promoting his book…because the connection would have been made.
    They would be more inclined to travel economy , even better make announcements from Canberra instead of the BS reasons given for travel.

  35. Florence nee Fedup

    No one showed any concern when Abbott for whole of term as Opposition leader flew every day to one or more states for photo opts. Very rarely was he near the public. Time for announcements funding to be made from offices. No need for expensive time consuming plane trips across the country.

    If they want to do so, let party pick up tab.

  36. Kaye Lee

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop charged taxpayers $2,716 to attend the Portsea Polo for “official ministerial business”.

    A Department of Finance report shows Ms Bishop spent $2,177 on flights to Melbourne for the event, $416 on a car and claimed a $123 travel allowance.

    “The Minister was invited and attended in her official capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party,”

    Tasmanian Senator David Bushby, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo charged taxpayers more than $2,500 for a trip to the AFL Grand Final in 2013.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-10/julie-bishop-charged-taxpayers-for-trip-to-polo/8173542

  37. Kaye Lee

    Health Minister Sussan Ley charged taxpayers more than $13,000 to pilot private charter planes along busy capital city routes and is refusing to say why she didn’t use cheaper commercial options.

    Ms Ley’s social media accounts indicate she was in the cockpit.

    Ms Ley also regularly charters planes between Canberra and her home base of Albury, with costs ranging from $1500 to $4000 per flight – even though it’s only a three and a half hour drive.

    Ms Ley is a prodigious user of charter flights around her own electorate, racking up 120 charter flights at a cost of about $210,000 since 2014.

    According to Civil Aviation Safety Authority guidelines commercial pilots must fly three flights every 90 days to maintain their licences.

    http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/sussan-ley-charges-taxpayers-13000-for-capital-city-charter-flights-20170110-gtosl7.html

    Seems we are paying for her to keep her pilot’s licence current

  38. Kaye Lee

    Tony Abbott charged taxpayers more than $3,000 for travel that coincided with his attendance at Santo Santoro’s 60th birthday party in Brisbane

    Throughout his parliamentary career, Abbott claimed taxpayer funds for trips linked to the Coffs Coast Cycle Challenge, the 2011 Bathurst V8 Supercar race, 2010 Melbourne Cup, 2010 Boxing Day Test match at the MCG, and 2011 Birdsville Races.

    Abbott also claimed about $1,700 in expenses for attending the weddings of former Coalition MPs Peter Slipper and Sophie Mirabella in 2006, which he repaid in 2013.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/10/tony-abbott-attended-santo-santoros-party-on-trip-charged-to-taxpayers

  39. Florence nee Fedup

    Don’t forget we pay for the books to fill the shelves. Books etc. Brandis could walk down corridor to parliament library. Books that have information Brandis could get on line.

  40. Kyran

    “And just to rub it in, this is George’s facebook pic.”
    Reminds me of a boss I used to have. His nickname was ‘mudguard”. As I respected him, and didn’t understand the reference, I asked him how he got the nickname. It required several ale’s and a few hours solitude at the local hotel to work out that ‘mudguards’ are shiny on top, with dirt underneath.
    “Nice bookcase George.”
    Book cases are good, if they contain books. They are even better when you have read some of the books.
    Such a pity his bookcase is empty.
    It sort of encapsulates our ‘government’, doesn’t it?
    Thank you Ms Lee, and commenters. Take care

  41. Florence nee Fedup

    No Brandis bought 100’s books, even kids books among them. Does Not use computer. Was in news a few years ago. He has enough to fill the shelves. We paid for them

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