We are all aware of the rorting of expenses by our politicians. Who can forget Bronwyn Bishop’s famous helicopter rides, or George Brandis and his bookshelves? Or Joe Hockey’s claiming expenses for staying overnight in houses his wife owned or Susan Ley’s claiming travel expenses for private business.
And what about the Finance Minister Senator Cormann chartering private planes to take him home?
Independent Australia disclosed more of this rorting in an article by Belinda Jones titled; “Out of Control Expenses claims made by Federal politicians.”
The list goes on of course but when a politician is elected on a generous salary and spends much of his time outside the country, well, that takes rorting the system to a whole new level. A reprehensible one.
He is a bit of an oddball is George Christensen. Wikipedia tells us that he is a vocal supporter of the sugar industry and has rejected policies such as a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages aimed at reducing obesity.
He has likened the climate change debate to a science fiction film plot, but says “alarmist” claims are more comedic than frightening.
He has previously stated that Australia was “at war” with Islam. In July 2015, speaking at a rally held by far-right group Reclaim Australia — which infamously held a 10th “anniversary” for the 2005 Cronulla race riots — Christensen said: “we would be foolishly naive to think that we are not at war with radical Islam.”
“On 20 September 2017, Christensen moved a motion to ban the burqa at the National Party’s annual conference in Canberra. The motion was voted down 51 votes to 55, with Christensen saying he would continue to advocate for the policy.”
Ponytails bartender Marjorie Lamsen told the organisations Mr Christensen was a “very regular visitor” to the venue. “He was always very good … he was a big spender,” she said.
The bar manager of the night spot, which identifies itself as an “adult entertainment service”, said Mr Christensen did not reveal he was a politician and alleged his “weakness” was women.
I have read that he recently completed a degree in divinity enabling him to preach the gospel of Christ but the latest news has him frequenting the very best adult entertainment bars in the Philippines.
He has previously stated that his frequent trips to Asia before meeting her was for church and charity work.
Many fellow parliamentarians now call the ‘Member for Manila’ because of his frequent travel to the region, including an astonishing 28 trips in a four-year period.
These allegations have surfaced in the mainstream media from time to time over the past few years even suggesting that George spent 300 days in the Philippines between 2014 and 2018. Now that’s a fair amount of time away from his electorate on the taxpayer. Apparently he met his now wife April Asuncion at Ponytails in 2017. We learn that:
Nine News, The Age and The Herald have seen documents, which suggest Ms Asuncion was an employee at the Ponytails bar.
Now, normally you would think that with so many rorting scandals behind them that political parties would wake up. How does a member of the House of Representatives get to spend 300 days holidaying (or) doing whatever one does at these places without being found out?
It is important to say that the AFP has concluded that Christensen hasn’t broken any law. Although they have said that he had compromised himself to foreign interests.
The problem here isn’t that of breaking the law but of the character and behaviour of the man involved.
“Character is a combination of traits that etch the outlines of a life, governing moral choices and infusing personal and professional conduct. It’s an elusive thing, easily cloaked or submerged by the theatrics of politics. But unexpected moments can sometimes reveal the fibres from which it is woven.”
He has obviously not represented his electorate in a manner befitting his office. Has the leader of his party reprimanded him? It would seem not, although both (then Prime Minister) Turnbull and National’s leader McCormack were both briefed by the AFP. McCormack apparently told Christensen to stop travelling overseas and focus on his marginal electorate only after he was elected leader.
At the last election – despite his constituents being in full knowledge of his escapades to the Philippines – returned him with an increased margin of 11.2 per cent.
Has the parliamentary committee who oversee such matters questioned him?
I mean, surely, you cannot get away with having 300 days away from the job on full pay without any consequences. Although judging by the inaction of anyone and everyone, you can.
George, the in-depth Christian, has decided to block the release of key documents about the federal police probe into his frequent travels.
Secrecy is fast turning into an art form with this extremely conservative and very right-wing government.
What sort of democracy are we? We are not allowed to know about the Lambie secret deal or the content of the Taylor emails; nor the circumstances of the secret trial jailing of witness J or the contents of an AFP report about George Christensen; and we are not allowed to know why Pastor Houston isn’t allowed into the White House. Why?
This government takes our right to know what they are doing very lightly.
Less informed voters, unfortunately, outnumber the more politically aware. Therefore, conservatives feed them all the bullshit they need. And the menu generally contains a fair portion of untruths.
My thought for the day
If we are to save our democracy we might begin by asking that at the very least our politicians should be transparent and tell the truth.
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