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Ah Bridget, too far?

It was June 2012 and an inebriated Barnaby Joyce had risen in the Senate to speak about the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Amendment Bill when he was “distracted” by the sight of fellow Nationals Senator McKenzie.

“Madam acting deputy president McKenzie, you are looking wonderful tonight,” he said. “You are a flash bit of kit in this chamber, there is no doubt about you.”

When an embarrassed Ms McKenzie tried to interject, Barnaby reassured her “It is non contro. Roll with me on this.”

Mr Joyce said his wife had made no comment on the incident: “She knows me better than that.”

Uh huh.

Anyways…back to the ‘flash bit of kit’.

Bridget is taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded to her.

In 2017, despite being a Victorian backbencher, Bridget claimed thousands of dollars to attend a shooting awards ceremony in Sydney.

A spokesman said: “The travel undertaken was consistent with Senator McKenzie’s official duties as Chair of Parliamentary Friends of Shooting. She attended the 2016 Australian Shooting awards as a guest speaker and award presenter.”

Except the rules specifically state that expenses related to parliamentary friends groups are not claimable. For some unknown reason, they were ultimately deemed to have been incurred ‘in accordance with the rules’ and no disciplinary action was taken. Apparently having an interest in something means it is ok to charge the government to indulge it.

But our girl Bridget seems to be afforded more leniency than others.

In 2014, she bought a unit in Melbourne while supposedly on Parliamentary business. All quite kosher apparently. Sussan Ley, who was sacked from the Ministry for doing the same thing, must be wondering if she should invest more in her “kit”.

Being a team player, backbencher McKenzie chose to fly to New England to help Barnaby Joyce with the by-election caused by him having forgotten his father was a Kiwi. She neglected to disclose the gift of the free return flight when she updated the register in November 2017 with her latest gifts – free tickets to the AFL Grand Final, hospitality during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and accommodation for dairy awards in Adelaide.

Her expenses were claimed as “electorate business”. One wonders what electorate business a Victorian backbench Senator had in New England – most of us would call campaigning (and celebrating) party business. But it paid off, with Bridget being given the deputy leadership five days after Barnaby’s triumph.

Senator McKenzie holds the distinction of being the politician to claim the most in travel allowances last year, spending $652,697 for travel for her and her staff.

In explanation for the claim of 217 nights’ worth of accommodation allowance, Senator McKenzie’s spokesman said the responsibilities of being Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation required her to spend most of her time in regional Australia, except she only spent 32 nights in regional areas including two nights in Bendigo, 115 kilometres from her home in Ballarat.

Previously, she charged taxpayers more than $1000 for three trips to Melbourne while she was living in the inner-city suburb of Elwood. Now that she is living in Ballarat, last year she charged us $449 a night for 17 nights to stay in Melbourne, an hour and a half from home. Most of us would call that a commute, particularly when someone else is driving you.

But that’s small fry really. For some undeclared reason – perhaps something about Beef Week(?) – Bridget found herself in Rockhampton in May last year. As she hadn’t claimed for expenses to get there, one can assume she went there for private reasons. Except she then claimed almost $20,000 for a chartered flight back to Melbourne to watch an ice hockey match. She also claimed $14,000 for a charter flight to meet Prince Charles in Cairns at a basketball game.

Bridget loves to turn up for a photo when grants are being handed out to small sporting clubs. Considering the cost of having her in the photo often exceeds the grant, one wonders if it wouldn’t be better left to the local member to hand over the grant, perhaps with several thousand extra saved if Bridget didn’t insist on being there.

In September last year, the senator farewelled the Australian Youth Olympic team before attending the NRL grand final and staying at a hotel. Which might have been ok except she was scheduled to speak at a function farewelling the same junior team the next day. Obviously, their departure was a day late for the footie so saying bye twice was necessary.

Politicians are “personally responsible” for deciding if their use of public resources “achieves value for money”, is “publicly justifiable” and is “ethical”, according to the IPEA guidelines updated in January 2018.

The IPEA also says MPs should be “prepared to publicly justify your use of public resources” and “bear community expectations in mind because your use will be measured against these”.

Which begs the question – ah Bridget, too far?


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  1. Jack Cade

    This is Bjelke-Petersen territory, in that we are helpless to do anything about it. The Coalition won’t sanction her, there are no ‘independent’ independents, the ALP won’t sanction her because they won’t risk the scrutiny itself, and has waved through the Governments sole issue at the election. The leader of the ALP is best mates with the unlamented Pyne. What sort of country are we?

  2. Baby Jewels

    Crooked as a dog’s hind leg. Much like her party.

  3. Aortic

    Apart from the PM, Foreign Minister and agreed senior portfolios the rest should be given an agreed fixed amount per financial year and once spent that is it. Far too easy to say this or that is ” within parliamentary rules” which seem to be pretty flexible or even if found to be beyond even that, easy just to repay and plead either ignorance or indifference. Behold the rear section of the plane become suddenly comfortable, the DOM become domestic bubbly and the five stars become comfy three stars. Still if you are as important as Pauline you can always have your still unexplained private plane piloted by that paragon of virtue James Ashby. How these people are not in custody for out and out fraud is beyond my ken.

  4. David Evans

    Any monies repaid after being exposed as a rort should be doubled the original amount stolen, it is public money they are stealing, a 100% penalty on top may slow the rip offs. To blame office staff or, or oversight just shows the public that these crooks are not fit for duty. Would ANY private enterprise allow frauds to continue in their employment? The “honour system” should not apply to politicians:

  5. Wobbley

    But you inadvertently make an error on your Newstart application and it’s off to the fireing squad for you. Filthy greedy fascist scum the lot of them.

  6. corvus boreus

    Just another example of routine rorting; such stuff hardly even raises an eyebrow these days.
    I am so glad that the relatively progressive forces of the ALP, Greens and Indis are so willing to prioritise public interest over petty party politicking, and are probably, as we speak, sitting together in productive negotiations towards formulating, tabling and implementing a working proposal for a federal anti-corruption body.
    Oh yeah, that’s right, the branded tribes are all too busy self-indulgently slinging petty insults and confected outrage at each other to be bothered making any serious efforts at curtailing the blatant corruption occurring in and around our federal government.

    As a devoted member of the ALP party faithful once said to me; ‘frankly, I don’t give two shits about corruption’.

  7. Matters Not

    So the politicians travel a bit, fiddle their expenses, go missing and the like – so what to do in this electronic age? Perhaps each Member of Parliament could ‘keep a diary’ – both in prospect (what they intend to do) and in retrospect (what they actually did, including who was consulted, expenses etc) – and have it readily accessible by all citizens via a website.

    It’s called transparency. And yes it would be rortable – but that avenue would come with a risk, with one never knowing who’s keeping track. Nothing like a bit of fear to keep the average Australian cowering. As Dutton et al will tell you – it wins elections.

    Perhaps, Labor could show the way and demonstrate that they take public accountability rather seriously. But probably not. (In short, it ain’t gonna happen. But at least there would be cross-aisle unity.)

  8. Terence Mills

    A couple of snippets of news :

    Donald Trump has claimed, during his Fourth of July speech, that the US revolutionary army of 1775 “took over airports” from the British and this helped them defeat the (air)force of George III.

    and this

    Mad Magazine has announced that it will cease publication as it has become irrelevant in contemporary American society !

    These stories are linked 🙂

  9. Kaye Lee

    Poor old Donald. He’s such an idiot. Donald and James Packer and Gina Rinehart may all have inherited great wealth but it doesn’t change the fact that they are all dumb as posts.

  10. Geoff Andrews

    That’s a very unfair, snide remark. He has explained his teleprompter failed (probably due to the rain) and he had to “wing” it.
    I imagine nods of sympathy and “there but for the grace of god ..” from his supporters who have also had their knowledge of history updated by the grate man.

  11. Geoff Andrews

    Having done as you suggest, give each Party their allocated yearly amount to be administered by them so we can watch with delight the hyenas fight over the carcass.
    “So Bridget, you want $32,141 to fly return with your husband & two children to the Annual Hinchinbrook Festival of Reef Snorkelers? Piss off!”

  12. Terence Mills


    You’re right it was a cheap shot.

    I guess when your teleprompter fails we all have to rely on our own knowledge of history – could happen to any of us !

  13. Kaye Lee

    I wonder if Donald has ever been on a train.

  14. Michael Taylor

    Our dear Bridget has moved to a new office just a couple of kilometres from our place, (and not far up the road from the office of Helen Hayes).

    Bridget’s new office was formerly the local branch of the Commonwealth Bank, which was only a small branch with a counter and about six small offices. I can’t for the life of me visualise how $500,000 needed to be spent on renovations. A house and land package could be acquired for that sort of money.

  15. Matters Not


    .. moved to a new office just a couple of kilometres from our place …

    Aha! That might explain it. Good security doesn’t come cheap these days.

  16. corvus boreus

    Just a thought.
    According to google, it costs about $500,000 to install a decent indoor gun range.
    A gal’s gotta unwind.

  17. Trevor

    As Australian Parliaments are Sovereign, then MP’s & Senators are above the laws that we, the great unwashed voter are subject to.

    Politoxics are subject to quaint rules that the Politoxics created. The rest of us are subject to the Laws of Australia and the justice afforded by those laws.

    When Australians decide they have had enough of being ruled by a class of criminal Politicians, the people will be Sovereign, not the Parliament, and the Laws of Australia will apply to the Political Shitstem along with the same justice afforded to all Australians.

    Until the people become Sovereign, then the same sick show of criminality from Australia’s Political class will continue unabated.

    The same media headlines will continue,

    The same shameless spectacle of Criminality from Members of Parliament and Senators will continue unabated. That’s for sure.

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