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Day to Day Politics: The best plunderer of the public purse.

Sunday 3 September 2017

I well recall in 2013 when Tony Abbott faced the ABC’s most capable and ferocious interviewer, Kerry O’Brien, about the benefits of the NBN. He was later to appoint Malcolm Turnbull to destroy it because he didn’t think it served any real purpose other than watching pornography. Anyway, on this night Abbott, being so technically incapable, almost begged O’Brien not to ask him any questions of a technical nature.

At the time he was campaigning to become the next Prime Minister of Australia. It occurred to me that if he was so deficient of any knowledge on that subject then, how on earth would he get away with explaining his views on something like the science of climate change.

Over the years he has been able to get away with it by using three-word slogans and simply telling lies. His former Chief of Staff has admitted it to be so.

Incredibly, next month Abbott, as though he were some authority on the subject, will give the annual lecture to an international London-based climate sceptic group. Abbott will give his speech, entitled “Daring to Doubt'”, to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

But please forgive me. This post is not about Climate Change or indeed the NBN. It’s about plundering the public purse. The art of doing a lot of travelling the world, making speeches, promoting things that serve your own self interest, making a profit from public taxes.

Tony Abbott was always on about money. Politics may give you power but it doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with wealth. Since Abbott entered parliament he has made no complaints about the generosity of the public purse.

Besides being Australia’s all-time champion political liar he must also be our greatest grafter. He has always had more front than Myers and as a monumental failure as Prime Minister has the gaul to think he is some suppository of wisdom.

It’s rather like having had this taste of power he now lusts over it, craves it for the self gratification he needs to supplement his overgrown image he has of himself.

But all this self embellishment costs money and it has never been, will never be Tony that pays for it. He says his future is as the member for Warringah, where he will have “more time to be a very conscious local member” yet he seems to spend more time out of it than in it.

Last week the usually Abbott-friendly Herald Sun reported that in 2016 Abbott clocked up huge travel and expenses costs jetting round Australia. When criticised by fellow Liberal MPs he became very testy. He has always seen the advantage of expenses as his divine right.

Anne Summers in a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald wrote that:

Rather than be embarrassed about this, he attacked the Liberal Party colleagues who had leaked the information.

My calculations, based on the figures published by the Department of Finance for 2016, show that Mr Abbott spent $79,236.13 on “domestic scheduled fares” and received $37,471 in travel allowances, a total of $116,707.13.

The other five former prime ministers – Julia Gillard, Bob Hawke, John Howard, Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd – between them in 2016 spent a total $73,152.21 on “domestic scheduled fares”.

(For the record, Abbott’s predecessors claimed for domestic travel as follows: Gillard – $22,631.24; Hawke – $13,971.31; Howard – $30,837.91; Keating – $2,149.86; Rudd – $3,662.49.)

Abbott managed to outspend all of them by travelling around Australia for an incredible 65 days. This was in addition to the 51 sitting days of federal Parliament in 2016 that required him to be in Canberra. All up, the “very conscious local member” spent almost four months away from his beloved Warringah.

Its interesting that none of the other former Prime Ministers make similar claims. Oh well, as he says, he is just a simple backbencher. I kid you not. We can only determine what the official business is by taking note of the media interest that surrounds him. Then we know what he is up to.

He seems to be a man undeterred by criticism from the public and acts as if he were the Prime Minister in waiting. He is fire suited against criticism from former friends and colleagues who now despise him.

”Quite self-indulgent” and ”deliberately destructive” as Mathias Cormann has said.

He however is immune to it all and tell lies and contradicts himself as though his views should be taken more seriously than others and we should overlook the exaggeration. Anyway, he can always rely on the shock jocks for support.

Like most attention seekers he seems to have a ‘’look at me” image of himself tattooed on his chest. Like his admission that he was so drunk in 2009 that he couldn’t make it to the chamber to vote on critical legislation. Most people would back of the fact in embarrassment when everyone was aware that for years that he had denied it. But who cares. It was the taxpayer who was paying the bill. Fine wine and all.

What is it with this man who has used the public purse to fly North South East and West to promote a book he wrote. A man who cost more in office as Opposition leader to sustain than the Prime Minister Julia Gillard. A man who went on police Pedal rides on the public purse to raise money for charity but was really on an exercise of self promotion. A “serious act of community engagement” and not just “a frolic” he said.

A man who falsely gained a scholarship for a daughter in dressmaking that wasn’t available to other students. A man who, in 2012, charged taxpayers $9000 to attend the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Having gained the taste for it he then on to spend more than $10,000 so his family could attend Derby Day and the AFL grand final.

A man who feigns a devoted commitment to our indigenous folk while at the same time saying that to teach Indigenous history in schools, as is being proposed by Nigel Scullion, the federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, would be ”a capitulation to the left” unless schools also taught British history and the rise of the West.

What sort of a brother would tell his lesbian sister that her children would be better raised by different-sex parents? Only scum would say such a thing. He doesn’t even have a regret that it was he who caused this mess now known as a survey.

Only a man like Abbott would stand in front of a banner that read “JuLiar Bob Brown’s Bitch” and delight in humiliating the country’s leader.

The only decent thing you can say about the man is that he is working hard to bring down this dreadful government. Just as his predecessor did.

My thought for the day

“Some countries make a habit of institutionalising mediocre minds.”


19 comments

  1. mark

    Influence of fatherly figures,caused tony abbotts’ imbalance of mind,I believe.mark

  2. Peter F

    “fatherly figures” . . . . Particularly that one ‘up there’.

  3. Roscoe

    I have always been amazed at his statement that he still had a mortgage on his family home when he was PM. just what does he spend all his money on I wondered? as PM you would pay for nought in transport, accommodation, food or clothing, all coming out of entitlements so all his pay was going where?

  4. wam

    What a lovely spray today, Lord.
    The look on kerry’s face was priceless when the rabbott thought peak speed needed a ‘tech head’. As I read, I pinched myself at the truth of this man being a rhode’s scholar?
    Laborites, like me, were guilty of expecting the electorate to see his immorality in diverting to a clinic after a fund raising jaunt to Melb so he could claim expenses.

    I have one friend in his electorate, an former executive for a large multinational with stints in America, NZ and Aust, recently retired, who admires his local member with praise that would qualify the rabbott for local gov neighbour of the month, but his true love is the IPA. QED.

    ps it may be irrelevant but institutes who charge $60000 for course like your ‘dressmaking’ gained access, in 2014 to the VETFEE trough. That is 100 bums on seats for a cool $6m.

  5. helvityni

    People do things differently in different countries, and that’s understandable, but why oh why did Australian voters want to have Abbott as their PM, instead of Gillard…even Rudd would have been a better choice. After all Abbott had proved that he was hopeless as the Health Minister ( as was Dutton by the way)…

    We can only dream of another Kerry O’Brien to appear on 7.30… Those were the days…

  6. john ocallaghan

    When teaching students the true meaning of the Australian term ”Bludger” one need look no further than two examples in Tony Abbott and Bronwyn Bishop, who i believe are the two biggest bludgers in the history of not just Australia but the world.
    If one produced a ledger on each of these two MPs, with one side their collective achievements over their full parliamentary life time,and the other side their renumeration for said services and achievements, one would be left with absolutely no doubt that these two are the biggest ”Bludgers” that God ever put breath into!~~!~

  7. Johno

    john ocallaghan.. nicely put.

  8. wam

    haha what a wish, helvityni, he was a one off honest journalist whose only blemish was:
    O’Brien welcomed the replacement of Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott by the less conservative Malcolm Turnbull in 2015, telling Fairfax that it was “a little burst of sunlight nationally…” and that “There’s a surge of relief because things were so bad”[24]

    Sadly, the abc without him is so left wing. Recently, its leftie uhlmann has gone to pollute ch9 with his pinko ideas and that leaves the commo probyn in charge.

  9. helvityni

    Well wam, Abbott has some entertainment value. Sadly Turnbull only seems to value himself: a strong leader, the first leader to help WA, the one leader professing to have practical love etc, etc, so is it no wonder that Kerri and even myself thought Mal would be an improvement on Tones….

    He can keep ensuring this, but I don’t believe him….

  10. guest

    wam, you call Uhlman a ‘leftie’ with ‘pinko ideas’. And Probyn is for you a ‘commo’. How far right are you?

  11. Terin Mahsout

    Nah, if you’re looking for a complete lack of compassion, Spud Head is lagging behind three of the biggest pieces of garbage we taxpayers are forced to hand our money to, namely Christian Porter, Alan Tudge and Michaelia Cash.
    As Ministers for Social and Human Services respectively, Porter and Tudge are directly responsible for the increase in male suicides due to their inhumane treatment of fathers via the completely out of touch Child Support Agency and Centrelink. During Cash’s reign as Minister for Employment, she has proven to have ZERO concern for anyone classified as an ’employee’, preferring to follow the capitalist fascist policy line both her party and her business owner friends expect her to.
    It’s true that Dutton is incompetent, dumb and completely out of touch with the real world, but we certainly shouldn’t be expecting compassion from someone who is more a puppet of the right wing than anyone capable of bringing about worthwhile reforms.

  12. Trevor vivian

    Lord Scumsucker aka Abbott the glib is reported to have claimed more the $3 million in entitlements above his salary & perks in the last 3 years. The man is still reputed to be a dual national and therefore an illegal MP, irrespective of his furnishing a document recently which apparently bears little resemblance to the “Official” UK Document. If Abbott was a Victorian he would reliably be said to have more front than a Burke St tram. As he is a Sydneysider he just fits right in with the congaline of spivs which claim “pillar of society” status. It is majorly unfortunate that somehow Australia has ended up so poorly served in Parliamentary representation with the rights of Politicians above the rights of ordinary citizens. Even Private Schools baulk at the possibility of Private, privilidged School Boys being able to determine their own rules of conduct, behaviour and reward as occurrs with the RANK OPPORTUNISM of federal Parliamentarians and the Present Party Shitstem, in being able to decide the rules for their OWN CONDUCT, BEHAVIOUR AND REWARD. A pox on this reprehensible shitstem of welfare Bludging Leaner Extraordinaires from The Parliamentary classes of Australia.

  13. Keitha Granville

    Whilst TA’s amounts dwark those of his predecessors, no-one in the federal parliament can be proud of the bludging they all commit.
    It is disgusting that one night in Canberra pockets an MP the same as 2 weeks Newstart allowance. It beggars belief that somehow they are able to get away with this. Someday, somehow, we have to stop it.
    They talk about the nation not being able to afford pensions and social security, when in fact it’s the politicians we cannot afford.

    Chris Uhlman a leftie ? now you’re having me on.

  14. John Lord

    Wam. I think you need to research Uhlman further.

  15. Freetasman

    The reality John is that all that appalling behavior showed by Abbott during his time in opposition was what make him more attractive to the electorate.
    His comments about Gillard’s father passing, among other comments and his destructive manners was what make him a winner.
    Not only he has the approval of the electorate but also his senior team and members of his party
    Then, after the electing Turnbull people again voted for the same team, with the same values.
    Sometimes I just wonder if have any value commenting among us about these politicians when we know that our readers agree with us and we will have a little chance to reach and educate the politically ignorant members of the electorate.
    Sorry for being negative, perhaps I am depressed to the stage to accepting the reality and people should not take notice about my opinion.

  16. Deanna Jones

    Terin, you will find that the majority of men who suicide are young Aboriginal men, and it has nothing to do with the CSA.

  17. Shutterbug

    Deanna.
    You are wrong. So very, very wrong about male suicide and the CSA. I have first hand experience at the lengths the CSA go to, and also knew three men who took their own lives precisely because of the heartless berating metered out by the CSA. They were driven to despair at having their wages garnered in addition to gaining no access to their children.

    So don’t you tell me the CSA has nothing to do with male suicide. It has blood on it’s hands, the blood of silent men for whom the treatment by the CSA became too much.

  18. Mick Byron

    Shutterbug I had a brother in law who suicided and I did take a significant interest in the stats and got myself involved in some mens groups.I concur “Deanna.You are wrong. So very, very wrong about male suicide ”

    Freetasman “Sometimes I just wonder if have any value commenting among us about these politicians when we know that our readers agree with us and we will have a little chance to reach and educate the politically ignorant members of the electorate.”
    Don’t stop as your involvement may help you, however I formed the same opinion that there are just a select group on AIMn who chat amongst themselves,don’t seem too welcoming of outsiders or those of differing views and really have little to no impact on those who really need converting, the general public.
    I am an ocassional reader of articles now only and believe I have more chance of changing opinion by getting out and mixing with people and hope to persuade them that way.Maybe you too could become involved in social and community groups in your region and try to do the same

  19. Harry

    I completely agree with your assessment of Abbott’s character John, but I disagree that “taxpayers” fund the federal government in any way via federal taxes.

    Oh sure it looks that way and there are a number of smokescreens erected to give that impression plus constant reinforcement by most economists and a compliant unquestioning media. The complication is that taxes, levies wages and sales income DO fund other entities- whether State/Local governments, businesses and thee and me- but not the federal government. It creates money by means of electronic entries in bank accounts and can no more run out of money than an electronic scoreboard can run out of points.

    Its only but real, though huge, limitation is the risk of inflation if it tries to buy what is not there, ie real resources in terms of quantity and quality are the true constraints. In contrast federal taxes go absolutely nowhere. (No coffers filled with “taxpayers dollars”). Our federal taxes are destroyed. Their main role is to take away some of our spending power so the federal government has the “space” to spend on desirable public programs without total spending (from all sources in the economy) bumping up against the aforementioned resource constraints.

    So… viewed from this perspective we can easily answer the question when conservatives challenge progressives over some spending proposal or other with “where is the money going to come from” or “taxpayers cannot cope with the increased taxes needed to fund” program X or Y: the money is spent into existence, as it always is.

    That does not mean that all federal government spending serves public purpose. Clearly it does not and Abbott is definitely misusing resources that could be better used elsewhere. Similarly in Bronwyn Bishop’s chopper trips: they were not funded by us but they could be seen as a waste of resources.

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