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Andrew Laming’s $20,000 family holiday at your expense – value for money?

It wouldn’t be Australia Day without a story about Andrew Laming, the federal member for the seat of Bowman, located in the eastern suburbs of Brisbane, who spends the day crashing parties with a tray of lamingtons and skolling beers whilst doing a handstand in an effort to impress and engage with young people.

Yup, our Andrew is a crazy kinda guy, but he has worked out very well how to have a good time at others’ expense.

On June 30 last year, he and his family set off on an eight day … ummmm … work trip to the Northern Territory and Western Australia.  The justification given was that Mr Laming wanted to visit Kununurra for NAIDOC Week, to meet indigenous leaders and health, education and social service providers.

One would be justified in asking why he didn’t want to spend it with indigenous people in his electorate, or even his state.  Surely there are communities in Queensland who would have been eagre to speak to an MP about their concerns.

There is also the rather telling fact that Mr Laming does not appear to have claimed any travel allowance for accommodation or meals which, had he been on legitimate parliamentary business, he would have been entitled to do.

On June 30, Andrew was in Cairns and his wife and two children were in Brisbane.  Rather than flying separately, they met in Townsville ($360.60 + $534.32×3).  From there they flew to Darwin ($769.74×4).  Another $192.47 for cabs, comcar and unexplained small charges were claimed for that day.

They overnighted in Darwin before setting out for Kununurra by car ($1,370.88).  On the way they spent a night in Katherine and another in Timber Creek before arriving for four nights in Kununurra.

Apparently (according to Laming), their return flight via Darwin on July 7 was cancelled so they had to come home via Perth ($963.01×4 Kunumurra to Perth + $2,290.64×4 Perth to Brisbane).

It would have been a shit load cheaper to stay an extra night rather than spend $3253.65 per person to come the long way home but I guess when you aren’t the one who is paying, those things don’t occur to you.

All up, the trip cost us $19,619.87.

According to the new “Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority”, any claim for expenses must be “for the dominant purpose of parliamentary business”, it must represent “value for money”, and parliamentarians must be “prepared to publicly justify their use of public resources in conducting their parliamentary business.”

‘Parliamentary business’ includes activities that fall within four streams:

  • parliamentary duties: covers activities of the Parliamentarian that relate directly to the parliamentarian’s role as a member of Parliament
  • electorate duties: activities of the Parliamentarian that support or serve their constituents
  • party political duties: activities of the Parliamentarian that are connected with both their political party and their membership of the Parliament
  • official duties: activities that relate to the Parliamentarian’s role as an office holder or Minister.

In limited circumstances, a Senator or Member is entitled to ‘family reunion travel’ to enable his or her spouse or nominee, dependent children and designated person(s) to accompany or join the Senator or Member on travel within Australia, at Commonwealth expense, on parliamentary, electorate or official business.

As Laming holds no office, and was many thousands of kilometres from his electorate, it would be interesting to hear what parliamentary duties he performed to give us value for our $20,000.

Then again, the same question could be asked of Malcolm Turnbull who charged us over $150,000 for his week away in Germany, France and the UK on “official business”.

GERMANY FRANCE AND THE UK 5 JUL TO 13 JUL 17 OFFICIAL BUSINESS

Accommodation and meals $67,852.83

Ground transport $23,099.72

Minor official expense advance $378.00

Related travel expenses $33,864.08

Travel advance $243.53

Employee Overseas Costs $28,781.06

TOTAL$154,219.22

Perhaps if politicians were obliged to publish the purpose of their trip, a travel diary showing who they met with, when and where, and a report detailing conclusions/recommendations/achievements, along with receipts showing a bit more detail than “related travel expense”, we would be in a better position to judge if we are getting “value for money”.


60 comments

  1. babyjewels10

    Theft. Plain and simple.

  2. margcal

    If anyone but a politician did those things they would be sacked. And probably prosecuted.

  3. james mason

    I thought they were all going to be careful with ‘our’ money since Bronny’s expense debacle .. silly me i trusted them to do the right thing .. PS. Kununurra is in WA, just over the border … Maybe I could use my pension card to charge up a trip over to the Kimberley .. that’d be good .. thieves, liars and blaggards .. something has to happen to change their ‘entitlements’ …

  4. Glenn Barry

    The HUGE question is why haven’t we read about any of this in the MSM?

    The lack of scrutiny in this country is enabling the political class to act with impunity

  5. Matters Not

    As james mason points out, Kununurra is in WA, some distance from the Northern Territory but like so many locations in that part of the world children of Aboriginal descent do it very, very tough. But Doctor Laming would already know that:

    Laming worked in the Northern Territory community of Lajamanu in 1995, combining ophthalmic surgery training and public health. As part of a Master of Philosophy in Public Health, he was the principal researcher in evaluating single dose azithromycin for mass treatment of trachoma.

    So, chances are he wasn’t there to meet indigenous leaders and health, education and social service providers . He’d already been there and done that.

    As for why he would take such a circuitous route re getting initially from WA to Darwin then via Perth to Brisbane – think of the Frequent Flyer Points. I can assure you that the vast majority of politicians do. (Details on request.)

  6. lawrencewinder

    No wonder corruption is on the increase in the PS….. With the consistent examples of politicians rorting vast amounts and with no sanctions applied is there a tumbril close by?

  7. Matters Not

    The ‘rorters’ of today are simply following a well worn path:

    In 1999, a check of MP travel showed that Colston had flown overseas at almost every opportunity, taking 46 overseas trips in 18 years, and when he defected he had become one of the largest claimants of travel allowance in parliament.

    One of Colston’s favourite topics was veterans affairs and he was indefatigable in pursuing the welfare of Australian prisoners: he visited Thailand on six occasions between 1988 and 1995. While his globetrotting eventually left him jaded – “What are we supposed to do with a free weekend in New York?” he asked his astonished travel companions after receiving the timetable for a 1995 visit – he clearly enjoyed his earlier trips.

    Colston’s wife Dawn sparked the scandal over his travel rorts. After an acrimonious separation, Dawn Colston wrote a letter in 1983 to the special minister of state, Mick Young, who had responsibility for parliamentary allowances, alleging Colston had used travel warrants in her name to allow another woman to travel. She also alleged he had used a business registered in her name, Kyeema Enterprises, without her knowledge.

    Kyeema had charged Colston $6444.81 for charter travel the previous year, which the senator claimed from the Commonwealth. Dawn Colston said she never saw the money.

    A lot more here. Anyone slipped on a concrete floor lately? It’s another avenue or another rort.. No doubt all sides of politics are considering as to what might be done as they have for decades. Someimest a good decision just takes time?

    http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/08/25/1061663736625.html

  8. Zathras

    In case anybody is wondering, Travel Allowance as paid by the Commonweath Government is totally tax-free and no receipts need to be produced for the first three weeks. After that time they are paid on a Review rate, based on actual costs.

    You could theoretically sleep under a bridge for three weeks or in your wife’s investment property or even at at Joe Hockey’s place and claim the entire standard daily rate – and Canberra pays much more than Sydney.

    I presume that’s why Parliamentary sittings seem to last for only three weeks at a time – to maximise their entitlements.

    Even self-professed “honest and trustworthy Christian” Fred Nile was known to use a contrived home address on the South Coast (a property bequeathed to The Festival of Light that he claimed for himself) to claim NSW State Travel Allowance while it sits, despite actually living in Sydney. It must be too great a temptation or too small a sin.

    I assume the other allowances are likewise non-taxable but probably based on reimbursed expediture.

    Some people would consider these to be rorts but to politicians – they are reasonable entitlements.

    Funny, they work for us but we have no say in what we pay them.

  9. Alpo

    C’mon Kaye, you know that all this is not true…. I haven’t seen any relentless campaign about it in the Murdoch press… A continuous string of articles, innuendos, factoids, fake news, plus cherry picked actual data duly put together in an outraging narrative repeated day after day, after day…. Until bloody Laming is forced to resign, to the public embarrassment of Turnbull and his mob of incompetents.

    That’s not happening… it’s not happening at all. Hence the story is not true!

  10. Arthur Tarry

    The rorting continues – I am absolutely disgusted that politicians continue to do this. This will go on until there is proper rigorous oversight of these so-called entitlements. The litany of entitlement abuse is vast and screams out for transparency and independent control.

  11. corvus boreus

    I do not think that trough-snouting is a purely government affliction from which the opposition and cross-benchers are immune.

    For example, Michael Danby, Labor HoR member for the electorate of Melbourne Ports, claimed around $15,000 for trips to Qld.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-mp-michael-danby-charged-taxpayers-almost-15000-for-queensland-trips-with-his-wife-20180108-h0ffdu.html
    Danby’s other recent antics have also included using $4500 of taxpayer funds to slag off at an ABC journo in a sectarian newspaper, and taking a week long sickie for a sponsored trip (donor undisclosed) to attend a conservative conference in Israel.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-16/michael-danby-missed-sitting-week-to-attend-israel-conference/9053194
    Apparently, over the years, Danby’s seat of has progressively gone from safe to marginal, and it looks like Melbourne Ports has now become one of those places in which the perfidious Greens believe they can dislodge Labor’s grip.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/08/michael-danby-refuses-to-apologise-for-ad-attacking-abcs-sophie-mcneill
    Personally, I think the ALP should be taking a serious and pragmatic look at the practical tenability of Danby’s position.

    Ps, re the Greens, apparently Richard Di Natale has surpassed Sarah Hanson-Young as the Greens biggest spender (SHY claimed $970,000 in travel from 2008-2014), and has reached the parliamentary top 10 in terms of cost in claims.
    Unfortunately, the only corroborative info I could offer on this is newscorp sourced, and I don’t link to them.

  12. Kaye Lee

    In the three months, July to September 2017, Richard Di Natale claimed, with one entry labelled Aggregated Total, $183,549.91 for Domestic Travel Employee Costs (not including himself). He must travel with a huge entourage.

    Payments made for domestic and overseas travel (where the travel can be attributed to an employee).

    For domestic travel, the following payments are included:

    Motor Vehicle Allowance
    Domestic Scheduled Fares
    Cabcharge
    Other Car Costs
    Parking

    His own domestic airfares for the quarter were $12,504.48 and $18855.24 for car costs.

    If you want to check “work expenses” as they are now called, you can do so here.

    https://www.ipea.gov.au/pwe

  13. Kaye Lee

    Wow this domestic travel for employees is expensive.

    In that same three month period, Malcolm Turnbull claimed $471,036.59 and Bill Shorten claimed $566,286.51 just for employees domestic travel.

  14. Terry2

    During the recent Queensland state election, Pauline Hanson travelled extensively promoting her party and her candidates.

    I noticed that she happily confused the issue by claiming on occasions to be acting as a Queensland Senator yet her prime reason for being there was party political.

    I wonder how they handle this conflict of interests.

  15. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    $60,000 a month for staff travel seems somewhat…excessive.
    It looks like the good green doctor, who once so ostentatiously paid for his own Portugal trip to ‘research the effects of liberalized drug policy’, has now well and truly found a use for his parliamentary gold card.

  16. corvus boreus

    Ah, the reality of relativity.
    I guess that if Di Natale splurging $60,000 a month on staff travel is ‘excessive’, then Shorten blowing $188,000 a month on seats for the entourage must qualify as a form of ‘conspicuous consumption’.

  17. Kaye Lee

    Since every part of Australia has their own parliamentary representative, we would save a hell of a lot of money if they allowed local members to deal with anything in their electorate – make announcements, cut ribbons, turn sods, meet with local businesses, community groups and concerned individuals – whatever it is that they actually are supposed to be doing. It seems like they all spend time flying all over the country (with lots of people in tow) for no discernible reason other than to have their photo taken or to enjoy the latest sporting or cultural event

  18. Zathras

    One of the claims that really annoyed me at the time was Abbott’s “Polly Pedal” where all accommodation and meals were provided for volunteer riders along the route, yet Abbott himself saw fit to also claim Travel Allowance for each day of the event. (This self-promoting double-dipping leaner has an extensive history of rorting for maximum personal benefit.)

    Back in my days in Telecom, this would have technically been considered as criminal fraud and I know of one employee who was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for committing such an offence.

    There is no trough deep enough for some snouts. Maybe they should “take the sugar off the table” as they are prone to say about other things.

  19. corvus boreus

    On expenses claims submitted by HoR parliamentarians:

    Question; ‘does this claim pertain directly to either expressed concerns within your electorate or the parameters of your portfolio?’

    If the reply to this question is “no” or something that starts with “um…” and includes the phrase “technically speaking”, then the proper response to the application for reimbursement should be; ‘piss off you bludger!’.

  20. atkenos

    Laming is not the only pig with his snout in the trough BUT we need so called leaders like Shorten and Turnbull to agree to tougher measures on such misuse for ALL MPs and staff and senior bureaucrats

  21. corvus boreus

    ps Dear Tony Abbott,
    How the phuq do you spend $558 on a night in Leura or Mudgee?

  22. skype_solution

    AT is right, rorting will go on until there is proper rigorous oversight of these so-called entitlements.’

  23. Malibu Mick

    Laming’s expenses don’t pass the pub test, but as a number of other posters have pointed out a number of parliamentarians have their snouts in the trough. One poster has hinted that senior bureaucrats have the same rules. This is not true (although senior bureaucrats are able to fly business class both domestic and international) but there meal entitlements and hotel costs are governed/Seth by the relevant department/agency.

    One must wonder what the voters of Bowman think. It will be up to the candidates standing against Laming at the next election to remind them of this and ask them “is this what we want from our local member?”

  24. Adrianne Haddow

    Rather than unfettered access to the public purse, a capped travel allowance should be introduced.
    When the politician runs out of the allowance, like the rest of us, they can’t travel any more.
    Same as politicians’ salaries, if the rest of Australia is suffering from a wage freeze, so should they.

  25. corvus boreus

    Malibu Mick,
    Unfortunately, as has been pretty well illustrated in numerous examples, expenses rorting is such a wide-spread and high-scale phenomenon that many of the voters in the electorate of Bowman probably don’t see anything particularly special about Mr Laming’s conduct (those that are even aware of it).
    That is one of the problems with insidiously normalized corruption; it diminishes collective minimum expectations.

  26. Kaye Lee

    Malibu Mick,

    Employees receive a travel allowance for accomodation and meals with the amount varying by location. In Sydney, for example, Employees at the level of Advisor and Below are paid $314 per night, Senior Staff are paid $405 per night.

    https://www.ipea.gov.au/travel-guidance/employees-travelling-allowance-rates

    I realise bureaucrats are a different category

  27. corvus boreus

    Bowman electorate;
    Last federal election the people of Bowman comfortably returned Andrew Laming with a 49.8% primary vote.
    .http://www.abc.net.au/news/federal-election-2016/guide/bowm/
    The 2016 ALP candidate, Kim Richards (32.1% primary), seems to have been reasonably popular/effective local operator, since she picked up the overlapping state seat of Redlands in the recent QLD election.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/qld-election-2017/guide/redl/
    I do not think that Andrew Laming is in any current realistic danger of losing his job.

  28. Phil

    Obscene abuse of our parliament. Every vote each of these stinking thieves garners at election time is a tick of endorsement for an abuser of our parliament. These serial abusers are emboldened by the Murdoch dominated main stream media that refuses to report conservative crimes like this.

  29. helvityni

    Who in their right mind wants people like Laming, Barnaby, Dutton, Cash, Hanson etc. anywhere near when it comes leading this country…

  30. Rhonda

    This makes me feel sick

  31. Matters Not

    Doctor Laming along with Labor’s Terri Butler make regular appearances on ABC local Radio. As pointed out above, he is in no danger of losing his seat.

    Re his travel. Notice he didn’t waste his FFPs but just earned more. They become useful when one retires. Even though we paid for the travel, the FFPs accrues to the individual member.

    They benefit coming and going and all points in between. Further, there’s no appetite for change because here they all agree and simply look the other way.

  32. Kaye Lee

    We should impose an efficiency dividend on politicians. It should be relatively easy for them to achieve the same productivity for less. How much does it cost to achieve nothing?

  33. corvus boreus

    Melbourne Ports electorate;
    In 1998 Michael Danby, Labor’s appointed successor after sitting ALP member Clyde Holding retired, retained the seat of Melbourne Ports with a marginally reduced primary vote of 44.1%.(55.83% by 2PP).

    In 2001 Danby retained his seat with 39.36% primary (55.69% by 2PP).

    By 2013 ALP primary vote in Melbourne Ports had diminished to 31.67% (the LIB candidate scored a 41.05% primary) and Danby only retained the seat through preferences (53.56% by 2PP).

    Last time around, 2/7/2016, Danby hit 27% primary, and scraped in with a 51.38%.2PP margin.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_results_for_the_Division_of_Melbourne_Ports#Elections_in_the_1990s

    Since then Michael Danby has been self-slapped by a series of stuff-ups that have somewhat tarnished his image.
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/labor-mp-michael-danby-charged-taxpayers-almost-15000-for-queensland-trips-with-his-wife-20180108-h0ffdu.html

    I do not have much realistic confidence in the sustainability of Michael Danby’s position as the ALP’s seated HoR member for the electoral division of Melbourne Ports.

  34. Matters Not

    There’s another lurk, that most punters know little about. It’s the Chairman’s Lounge – well away from the other lounges and prying eyes. It’s by invitation only.

    Among those invited: senior-ranking MPs including Ministers, state Premiers and the Prime Minister, leaders of major unions, Qantas Ambassadors such as Hugh Jackman and John Travolta, selected A-list celebrities and some high-profile members of the media.

    Other recipients of the cherished black card are senior management at some of Australia’s largest companies who spend big on Qantas flights.

    Always liked travelling with my boss because of his access which meant my access as well.

    All Chairman’s Lounges offer a la carte dining within a dedicated restaurant zone with some familiar First Lounge favourites … while all-day alcohol service is available (there’s no waiting until noon for the bar to open) …

    Their location(s) is not well known.

    https://www.ausbt.com.au/qantas-chairman-s-lounge-the-unofficial-guide

    It’s great that there’s no ‘class’ in Australian society. LOL.

  35. Kaye Lee

    Speaking of Laming tweets, his interest in Aboriginal welfare is kinda hard to credit when he makes tweets like this one in 2013 after clashes between Aboriginal and Pacific Islander communities at Logan.

    “Mobs tearing up Logan. Did any of them do a day’s work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?”

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/lnp-mp-for-bowman-andrew-laming-weighs-into-race-tensions-on-twitter-with-controversial-tweet/news-story/a0e9110dfa453e2d52f8c23518dbeb74

  36. guest

    I am rather confused by discrepancies between Malcolm’s costs and the cost of employees. Malcolm’s costs per day for food and accommodation was some $7000+ while employees’ costs were some $28000+ altogether (a little more than $3000 per day). How did Malcolm rack up those costs? How many employees were there and what were their duties.

    At first I thought Malcy had big costs with his entourage, but then I see that employees’ costs are separate. Who gets the money? Malcy could have paid for his own costs out of his petty cash.

  37. Matters Not

    One wonders – why do they do it? Why do they never let a chance go by?

    One reason is that they see the top end of town living that lifestyle. It’s who they meet with. Engage with. It becomes the common sense – if it’s good enough for them then it’s good enough for me – who does their bidding. It’s a disease easily caught and hard to immunise against.

    In retirement, the shock of fuel bills, the cost of general maintenance, air fares, hotel accommodation and the like come as a great shock. You land with a thud.

  38. Kaye Lee

    I’m not sure why we have to continually host lavish dinners either. It seems when dignitaries (or sporting teams or celebrities or the uber rich) come to town, we pay for a big dinner. And then we go overseas, we still are the ones paying for a big dinner.

    “TREASURER Joe Hockey wined and dined world financial leaders at the G20 conference in Washington at a celebration that cost taxpayers $50,000 to fly out ­celebrity chef Shane Delia.”

    “Arts Minister and Attorney-General George Brandis spent $1100 wining and dining “key UK senior arts representatives” at a dinner for four in a posh London restaurant. Taxpayers picked up the meal’s £627 tab, which included £228 – around $AU408 – on alcohol.”

    And where are they now?

    Head diplomat in the US and the UK respectively.

    Helps when you can throw a good party to “cultivate relationships” for future employment.

  39. corvus boreus

    Matters Not,
    ‘Why do they do it?’
    I would, like yourself, include complexities like lowly politicians harboring envy based aspirations for the lavish lifestyles of the high-rollers they are obliged to shmooze with, and the necessity to public dignitas of the maintenance of princely appearance.
    There is also, as KL points out, there can also be elements of investment towards securement of personal future in acts of generosity by proxy towards influential people .
    However, for me the simplest and shortest answer is that they do because they want to and can.

  40. Matters Not

    What about a former Minister for Trade who hosted such lavish dinners for overseas visitors in his family owned restaurant.

    Yes Robb was into that as well. No wonder he sprouted the greatness of trade agreements. For him personally, they were a source of much goodness.

    Yes cb – they do it because they can but it’s the company they keep which raises the bar. Raises the ‘want’. Becomes part of their lifestyle. After all – they are not personally paying for it.

    Another bottle of Red waiter. The best you have.

  41. corvus boreus

    ‘pssst,… ensure the good Lord-Viscount gets first pour.’

  42. Kaye Lee

    Speaking of Andrew Robb, he also got free international advertising for his restaurant.

    A Sydney restaurant owned by Tourism Minister Andrew Robb and his family is being promoted by a government-funded $40 million, 18-month Tourism Australia campaign that targets 17 key global markets to sell the Australian “foodie” experience to the world.

    The Robb family restaurant, Boathouse Palm Beach, is showcased on Tourism Australia’s “Restaurant Australia” website, which was launched in May, as the “ultimate day trip destination” just an hour from Sydney and the “perfect place for a relaxed family outing”.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/governments-free-plug-for-tourism-minister-andrew-robbs-family-restaurant-20141022-11a0y5.html

  43. corvus boreus

    KL,
    According to current definition by federal parliamentary standards, a ‘conflict of interest’ can only occur when the success of one of a parliamentary member’s business concerns is impacting upon the profitability of another.

  44. diannaart

    Middle-age man in shirt, tie and pressed trousers skolling beer while performing handstand… I must confess, way back when I was a teenager I watched such an antic performed by teenage boys – which says all that need be said about Laming(ton).

  45. Jack Arnold

    The rorting of the Parliamentary Allowances System is legendary; remember Barnyard Joke wrongly claimed a return international air fare from attending an Indonesian wedding after he provided “family advice” to his Auntie Gina, who at the time was troubled by her off-spring complaining about her autocratic control of family finances. But this may not have been the only topic of discussion because Auntie Gina made a $50,000.00 properly documented donation to Barnyard’s 2013 election campaign and again before the 2017 bye-election offered $40,000.00 of “unemployment benefits” that was declined after intense public pressure. Now as Minister for Infrastructure, Auntie Gina may require pay back in the form of the about $1 BILLION from the opaque North Australian Infrastructure Fund government gifting for the Galilee Basin railway that is part of the GVK Hancock proposal to develop these coal mines for the benefit of shareholders of foreign owned multinational mining corporations.

  46. Ricardo29

    Come on, credit where credit is due. Skolling a beer while doing a handstand? The man is clearly Prime Ministerial material, after all Hawkie only skolled the beer.

  47. DrakeN

    ” 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
    3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
    4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
    5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
    — Matthew 7:1-5 KJV (Matthew 7:1-5 & other versions)

    Something which we should all consider when discussing the behaviours of others.

    Likewise:

    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    I’m no supporter of religions, nor indeed a theist, but sometimes, just sometimes, there are gems of wisdom in the overburden and dross which constitutes the mass of it.

  48. corvus boreus

    DrakeN,
    Noted.
    Should I ever start rortng public monies to the tune of 5 figure (+) sums, I will seriously consider mollifying my criticism of political perfidy for fear of appearing a hypocrite according to the words of the gospel according to Matthew.

    Ps, in the interest of full disclosure, i did once ‘tax’ a small handful of red frogs whilst on canteen duty at a local sports club.
    Does this disqualify me from commenting upon high-end political corruption?

  49. Zathras

    As well as the personal financial gain, it’s the attitude that it’s a limitless financial resource there for personal enjoyment that is the problem.

    We’ve all heard about the taxpayer funded tickets to sporting events and custom-made bookshelves.

    However I recall when Howard and his 4 member entourage were a bit slow in leaving the St Regis Grand Hotel in Rome.
    As well as the $11,400 per night for accommodation the taxpayers were hit with a $10,000 late checkout fee.
    When they were caught out they tried to get the Italian Government to chip in a bit but the total cost announced to Senate Estimates Committee was $42,000 for 4 luxurious nights.

    It probably no different than Barnaby Joyce writing off a taxpayer-funded 4WD by stupidly driving it into a flooded creek.

    That’s only a couple of examples but somehow it’s only the occasional chartered helicopter flight that attracts media attention, almost like it was part of a broader strategy.

    There were no explanations or public apologies for negligence offered in either case – just the usual presumption of privilege that goes with the job. It may be our money but apparently it’s theirs to do with as they see fit.

    They should do as their contracted employees are forced to do – put expenses onto a corporate credit card, provide all receipts and be prepared to justify every single expense individually to an independent assessor.

    That should minimise the possibility of personal cash benefit and maybe even cut down on some frivolous waste that doesn’t stand up to reasonable public scrutiny.

    Who know, it may even attract a better class of candidate for each seat.

    When it comes to wise sayings, I am yet to decide between “He who hesitates is lost” and “Look Before You Leap”.

    There’s probably one for every occasion.

  50. DrakeN

    @corvus boreus

    “From little Acorns, might Oak trees grow.” 😉

  51. Kaye Lee

    Let’s not forget Christopher Pyne….

    Education Minister Christopher Pyne and his wife had a taxpayer-funded $30,000 trip to London and Rome in April. The trip included taxpayers being billed $1352 for Mr Pyne to “day let” a room at a swish London hotel before he and his wife, Carolyn, flew back to Australia later that day, and more than $2000 for VIP services at Heathrow Airport.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/questions-arise-over-christopher-pynes-taxpayerfunded-trip-with-his-wife-to-london-and-rome-20140922-10k6zr.html

    Education Minister Christopher Pyne and his family claimed more than $5000 in travel expenses for a family visit to Sydney for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/christopher-pyne-claimed-5000-expenses-for-christmas-family-trip-20150807-giu5k3.html

  52. DrakeN

    “There’s probably one for every occasion.”

    Not wrong, there, Zathrasa, but so often – Oh! so often – their application is entirely out of place in regard to the topic or circumstances under consideration.

    As well as the majority of them being absolute rubbish.

  53. corvus boreus

    ‘You can’t make an omelette, too many cooks make light work by spoiling the broth of many hands without breaking eggs.’

  54. Harry

    Kaye,

    I differ a bit in my view.

    Its not “taxpayer dollars” that are being rorted when federal politicians fly to London or attend sporting events etc etc on dubious pretexts.
    (Unless we are talking about State government pollies).

    Its the misuse of resources that is the REAL problem. That “theft” or misallocation of resources is what we need to criticise.

    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/22/behind-the-money-curtain-a-left-take-on-taxes-spending-and-modern-monetary-theory/

  55. Kaye Lee

    Harry,

    I GET IT OK. It is not helpful to make the exact same comment on every article that ever gets written. Can we agree that the money could have been better spent?

    Malcolm Turnbull spent $150,000 in a week and that did not include airfares and it was not spent in our country. That is an enormous waste as far as I am concerned.

  56. Harry

    I did agree Kaye except I referred to resources, not money.

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