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Forget the carbon tax – politicians are killing commercial airlines

According to the Telegraph, during the height of Choppergate, Warren Truss got a private charter flight from Port Macquarie to Sydney after a sod-turning ceremony last week as NSW MPs at the same event boarded a commercial flight.

Tony Abbott chartered a flight from Port Macquarie to Sydney on 24th of March 2010. He charged us $5,490 for it. Being five years ago I would assume the price has increased.

In fact, after becoming LOTO, Tony took quite a shine to private charter flights – one presumes because he could. The following, along with the Port Macquarie flight, are his claims for charter flights from 2010-12.

Canberra to Sydney 3 Jun 10 $5,170.00

Sydney to Hervey Bay 9 Jun 10 then Hervey Bay to Mackay 10 Jun 10 $18,660.00

Avalon Airport to Sydney 18 Jun 10 $283.64

Sydney to Melbourne 18 Jun 10 $9,968.00

Brisbane to Sydney 8 Jul 10 $10,300.00

Sydney to Lismore to Brisbane 15 Jul 10 $10,780.00

Canberra to Melbourne Essendon Apt 28 Oct 10 $5,318.00

Sydney to Forbes return 4 Nov 10 $8,855.00

Melbourne Essendon Airport to Echuca to Sydney 8 Nov 10 $11,445.00

Cairns to Normanton 9 Nov 10 then Normanton to Brisbane $32,545.00

Melbourne Essendon Airport to Warrnambool return 6 Dec 10 $6,013.00

Melbourne Essendon Airport to Wagga Wagga to Sydney 14 Dec 10 $10,719.00

Emerald to Emerald 3 Jan 11 $1,125.00

Canberra to Melbourne Essendon Airport return 25 May 11 $6,150.00

Oakey to Dalby return 5 Jan 11 $1,800.00

Darwin to Newcastle Waters return 26 Jun 11 $6,500.00

Canberra to Maitland to Melbourne 11 Jul 11 $11,381.82

Townsville to Proserpine 25 Jul 11 $8,900.00

Rockhampton to Tamworth 26 Jul 11 $11,085.00

Sydney to St George 1 Sep 11 then to Brisbane 2 Sep 11 $12,133.00

Coffs Harbour to Brisbane 28 Sep 11 $5,060.00

Sydney to Bathurst return 9 Oct 11 $5,622.73

Sydney to Griffith return 15 Dec 11 $8,900.00

Sydney to Tamworth return 25 Jan 12 $8,800.00

Sydney to Bendigo to Horsham 5 Mar 12 then to Adelaide 6 Mar 12 $23,560.00

Perth to Kojonup return 11 Apr 12 $6,500.00

Cairns to Aurukun Mission 10 Aug 12 return 12 Aug 12 $9,636.36


Total in charter flights 2010-12: $262,700.55

Now Tony just summons the RAAF.


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  1. mmc1949

    How can any one of these flights be justified?
    But then, I’m a leaner. As a new pensioner finding my feet, I’ve started going to the public library to read, using their heating to save on my power bills.
    My sick bucket is overflowing.

  2. Matters Not

    Settle down Kaye. No need to get excited. There’s a ‘root and branch’ review under way; the results of which should be delivered in time to guide our grandchildren. Perhaps? But it may take a little longer.


    I would have thought, given the developments in modern technology, such a review should be measured in hours.

    It would demonstrate a vast improvement in ‘productivity’; a concept that the present government seems attracted to; provided of course it doesn’t affect or effect the proponents.

    Here’s another thought. Don’t fly when you can ‘Skype’.

    Radical, I know because it would eliminate the ‘travel related’ expenses.

  3. sandrasearle

    Kaye, hats off to your great expose. If that’s only Abbotts’ figures, how many more are there. All of this makes my blood boil big time & we must keep the pressure up on the most disgraceful bunch of hypocrites that we have had the misfortune to bear witness to. I’m sure that this has been happening to both sides of the political field for a long time & we will probably never know to what full extent it has been over the years. Now we have Abbott telling us that there will be some form of making sure that all politicians will have more strict guidelines as to expenses is just blowing smoke in our faces and is an insult to the people of this country.

  4. Wally

    Back in the 1970’s there was public outrage when Malcolm Fraser wanted to use government funds to build an airstrip on his rural property so his plan was quashed. Where/when did the public lose control of what was is considered acceptable expenses by our politicians?

  5. Tony Wood

    The Australian Taxation Office processes in excess of 12 million Tax Returns a year.
    There are 226 federal politicians.
    How hard would it be for a dedicated independent unit to assess the expenses returns of every politician on an annual basis?
    If the legislature can formulate rules that stipulate what is and is not allowable for income tax purposes, having regard to the thousands of variations in employment and business types, then formulating rules for politicians’ expenses should be a doddle.
    But of course it would take a bipartisan approach from both major parties.
    Oh, damn – just spotted the flaw in my argument.

  6. Greg Round

    Third one on the list is a bargain, Avalon to Sydney for $283.64, probably cheaper than Tiger

  7. Hannibal_l_ (@hannibal_i_)

    The supposed review of the entitlements system proposed by Abbott is nothing more than an attempt to divert attention away from his own rorts and those of his colleagues. It was easy to see that the MSM had started to look at other MP’s which has resulted in Bishop losing her Speaker role though nothing more. And the rouse appears to be working at least with the MSM. Thanks Kaye for keeping up the pressure on these crooked pollies. Bishop should in my opinion still be under investigation by the AFP although it has become apparent they are nothing more than puppets for the Liberal Party given the different circumstances of Peter Slipper’s hounding under lesser charges. She has defrauded the Australian public and should be held to account.
    Travel rorts should be investigated by an independent source. We still need a permanent federal ICAC.

  8. dwejevans

    Add to that list all the Comm Cars to and fro airports, accommodation at all the overnights, then ask youself is he worth it? Also, is there any truth in the rumor that he, bishop and truss are going to run the review? Nothing would surprise with abbutt!……Seems these fools travel rorts add up to a real debt and deficit disaster.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Julie Bishop was on the board for the West Coast Eagles.

    •A quick check of her Parliamentary Entitlement Reports shows that Bishop just happened to travel – for work related purposes at taxpayer expense – on 13 occasions to places and at times when her beloved West Coast team were playing away games or finals between July 2009 and October 2012.
    •And Bishop reported additional official travel with entitlement claims that coincided with a further 13 finals and blockbuster AFL games.
    •Bishop actually declared that she was given tickets to 3 grand finals but still claimed official travel and entitlements to attend each of these games.

    But most damning and comical: there were 5 West Coast – Collingwood games played in Melbourne between 2010 and 2012. And Julie Bishop just happened to be in Melbourne – on work-related duties at the taxpayer expense – for all five games.

  10. Harquebus

    The airline industry is doomed and has been for quite some time regardless.


  11. Kaye Lee

    LOTO=Leader of the Opposition

  12. gangey1959

    @ Greg Round
    I think he only did that so that he could charge us for number 4 the same day.
    I’m sure there is some sort of perverted logic there somewhere. Maybe he didn’t want to fly ove Melbourne’s outer Western suburbs in case some trainee radical took a pot-shot at him.
    I just hope that when he and his ilk from all sides of Parliament are given the bums rush at the next election the payback of rorted expenses is made retrospective.
    They do say “Payback is a Bronwyn” after all.

  13. diannaart

    “root and branch”? Eh? But no ICAC? None of ’em (pollies) are serious.

  14. GJN

    While perusing the publicly available parliamentary website that lists all MPs’ travel claims (I’ve forgotten the link but feel free to search) I was astounded to come across one entry from a couple of years ago that included noughts rather than the eye-watering tens of thousands of dollars that other MPs claimed in that year: that of Deborah O’Neill of NSW Central Coast (Gosford area).
    The woman simply didn’t rort the system, yet served her electorate without the need to fly hither and tither.
    No, I’m not in her electorate, nor related/acquainted in any way to her.
    One would think that most MPs paid almost $200K a year could afford to pay for their own travel expenses, especially that rancid old trout Bronwyn Bishop on $341K. And don’t me started on Tony Abbott’s half a million basic salary.

  15. Kaye Lee

    Deb O’Neill is an honest hard-working politician. She was defeated in the 2013 election by Lucy Wicks, another captain’s pick parachuted into the seat much to the chagrine of the local Liberals (she was on the NSW Liberal executive and lived in Tony’s electorate). When Bob Carr resigned the Labor Party chose Deb to take his position as a Senator.

  16. diannaart

    Interesting regarding Deb O’Neill – a real politician, well maybe not, an honest and dedicated politician. Good that she replaced Bob Carr – something about that man always makes my skin crawl, if someone told me he was a Liberal plant, I’d believe them… on the basis that politicians who make a person uneasy should all be in the same party.

    Now I could do some research on Bob Barr, or I could go and wash my hair – I really am quite shameless.

  17. Bronte ALLAN

    Not only is Tony Abscess already one of the highest–if not the highest–paid Prime Ministers in the world, he has the gall to rort the travel “system” to this extent, & try to get away with it as well! Do we here in Australia have an “official” plane (like Air Force one in the USA) that politicians, or at least the PM can use for ALL flights? Bloody cheaper on the public purse than chartering private planes & helicopters I reckon! This whole travel “entitlement” system (sic) seems to me to be one huge rort used by all politicians on all of us taxpayers. They would definitely not get any where near this in “civvy street”.

  18. Steeleye

    Will somebody enlighten me? Are the expenses above for Tones only, or do they also include his assembled minions? For example, Sydney-Forbes return for $8855 for one person (or a few people) is outlandish, but it might be a bit less so if he took along his full platoon of spinnmeisters (plus excess baggage for the flags).. (Do NOT interpret this as new-found support for Tones – I just want to get my perspective right.)

  19. Charter Pilot

    My company does a few charter flights for pollies each year – we quote many more and we often lose out to a cheaper quote. Our margins are very, very tight. Their staffers are (on the whole) very, very conscious of cost and they get the smallest/cheapest aircraft available to achieve maximum value for money for the number of passengers. We often lose out to the airlines on cost, and often the trip is cancelled altogether because of the cost.

    You might be surprised to learn that the aircraft pictured above usually quotes at about $2500/hour – I expect that the invoice paid by Truss’s office is very similar to the 2010 figure quoted above.

    Bronte Allan – a chartered flight in a turboprop is much more cost efficient than the Air Force leasing and crewing a “suitable” jet on 24/7 standby.

    Air Charter is a legitimate time-saving tool for people whose time is valuable. Using a charter aircraft to get to 3 or 4 (otherwise un-linked) destinations in one day is common.

    Using a charter aircraft to get around legit business as Minister for Ag (for example): Justified.

    Using Charter aircraft to go to party fundraisers as speaker of the house: Justified… as long as your party pays fr it, not the taxpayers!

    I can’t defend the use of the public purse for travel to party fundraisers, or as a more comfortable option to an airline flight when the schedule suits the passenger’s appointments. I won’t defend the excess that we have seen illustrated this last week.

    …but please don’t villify a legitimate business sector that feeds thousands of pilots, engineers and support staff all over the country (and no, not just from pollie’s perks).

  20. Kaye Lee

    Charter pilot,

    I accept everything you have said but when you say “Air Charter is a legitimate time-saving tool for people whose time is valuable” I would like to know what is achieved by politicians flying all around the country for photo shoots. If I thought they were actually achieving something other than media conferences with an appropriate backdrop then ok.

  21. Mark Needham

    Don’t mention Tony Burke,
    Keep it vewy, vewy quiet.
    Mark Needham

  22. Kaye Lee

    And why leave out Hockey whose wife and two of his children left him in Sydney and flew business class for a family reunion in Perth two days before he left. His trip cost even more than Burke’s.

    It is obvious that this was ‘within the rules’. Many of them have taken advantage from both sides. I note their attempted attack on Andrew Wilkie backfired.

  23. Mark Needham

    Spot on Kaye Lee.
    I have no trouble with hanging the guilty.
    I have no trouble with the repayment and Fine.
    I have trouble with “4 legs good, 2 legs bad.”
    An investigation, by a “peoples” review of expenses would uncover a Festering, Ulcerous and Cankered insidious gluttony, at all levels of the Public Service., and that is only where they have exceeded their claim.
    There is also the question of ‘Legal entitlement”, superannuation, accommodation, meal allowance, renting in Canberra, the list is endless, that also exceeds community expectations.
    But lets not talk about this, Hey!
    Someone may get hurt.
    Hurt, Hurt, you say, let us hang the mongrels, Please.
    Mark Needham

  24. gangey1959

    @ Charter Pilot.
    I agree with you when you say that yours is a very important sector of the transport industry. I just wish that I had the maths when I was at High School.
    One question though.
    On what planet do our current crop of politicians count as “people whose time is valuable”?

  25. Charter Pilot

    I am possibly being overly charitable, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt.
    As their employers I think we all agree their time costs us a lot of money.
    Their use of the time we pay them for is another subject.

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