Channelling ScoMo’s ‘aggrieved victim of outrageous slurs’ approach, George Christensen has hit back at those who have criticised him for spending 294 days in the Philippines over four years.
According to the Herald Sun, George spent 72 days in the Philippines in both 2016 and 2017 compared to 51 days in Canberra in 2016 and 64 days in the capital in 2017.
An indignant George says he’s the victim of a “smear campaign”, which is difficult to understand since the report is true by George’s own admission.
It’s none of our business because he travelled to the Philippines to visit his fiancee and her family and to help raise funds for a charity providing disabled children with wheelchairs…apparently.
Matt Canavan calls it “a massive beat up that’s an invasion of George’s privacy.”
Surprisingly, I have been unable to find any rules about Federal politicians’ annual leave entitlements but, as they only have to front up to their workplace for a few weeks a year, surely taking more than ten weeks off a year to visit your girlfriend is stretching the friendship. I have found nothing suggesting he took leave without pay though he said he paid for the trips himself.
However he did charge the government for a trip to Manila in the Philippines in 2017, to attend the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) Inter-Parliamentary Assembly. The Guardian reported that the report filed by Christensen was basically copied and pasted from a report on the same event in Malaysia two years earlier.
Canavan also pointed out that George had been doing charity work in the Philippines. That’s nice, but he could probably have raised more funds here. Or donated his airfare rather than flying over himself?
I seem to remember Christensen, also in 2017, ranting against foreign aid, saying that “not one dollar should be spent on foreigners.”
Christensen is paid a significant salary, and very generous entitlements, to represent the people of Dawson and, further, to make the laws which govern all Australians. He is not paid to spend months overseas visiting his girlfriend.
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