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Nothing is free? Depends who you are.

“[The budget] will do for people what they cannot do for themselves, but no more. Nothing is free. Someone always pays.”

A common refrain from Tony Abbott and his band of miserly men is that the taxpayer is footing the bill for all those “leaners” and that people should take more personal responsibility for themselves. User pays seems to be the pervading Coalition strategy in most areas – education, health, fuel excise, road tolls, GST.

It is somewhat ironic that Tony Abbott is leading this spin considering how much he has been given.

Tony came from England to Australia for free when his parents took advantage of the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme. His father became a wealthy man who paid for Tony to attend private Jesuit schools.

Tony then benefited from a free university education thanks to Gough Whitlam.

In a 1979 interview printed in Honi Soit, the Sydney University student newspaper, Tony said:

“I think too much money is spent on education at the moment,” adding that departments such as General Philosophy and Political Economy should be the first to go”.

This contempt for philosophy and political economy seemed to disappear when it was suggested to Tony that he might be able to get a free ticket to Oxford via a Rhodes Scholarship. He applied to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

University and college fees are paid by the Rhodes Trust. In addition, scholars receive a monthly maintenance stipend to cover accommodation and living expenses.

After returning from England, Tony decided to let the Catholic Church pay for his education and keep and entered St Patrick’s seminary at age 26, significantly older than most of his fellow seminarians.

While at the Seminary, he wrote articles for The Catholic Weekly and The Bulletin.

In 1987, he quit the Seminary and started looking at a future in politics, although he continued writing for The Bulletin.

After marrying Margie in 1988, Abbott decided that writing for The Bulletin was boring and he wrote to a number of “business leaders” asking them for a job.

His plea for a job was answered by Sir Tristan Antico, a “prominent member of the wider Jesuit network” who offered Tony Abbott the position of Plant Manager at Sydney Concrete in Silverwater even though he had no experience or qualifications for the position.

Abbott soon quit the job as it wasn’t paying enough money and accepted a position with The Australian as a journalist. He continued writing at The Australian until John Howard recommended him for a position as the then Federal Liberal leader John Hewson’s press secretary. Tony was responsible for the speech when Hewson said “you can tell the rental houses in a street”.

In 1992, he was appointed director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, a position he held until 1994, when he was successfully elected to parliament when gifted pre-selection for the Warringah by-election.

From the age of 36 Tony lucked into the highest paying job you can get with no qualifications, experience or specific skills, and then in 2009, he was gifted the leadership in return for becoming a climate change denier. Some may say that the Labor Party then gifted him the Prime Ministership.

He has had free air travel, chauffeur-driven cars, and tickets for him and his family to anything they want to attend.

We pay for his books, his volunteering, his charity work. We pay for his petrol and his phone and his food and his electricity.

We buy him new jets so he can fit in the hundreds of photographers and businessmen that now travel everywhere with him.

As Opposition leader, Tony claimed over $1 million a year in “expenses”. I shudder to think what his time as Prime Minister will cost us, particularly considering his accommodation decisions. It should be remembered that Abbott is living in public housing.

The lavish Canberra home Tony Abbott refused to move into while the Lodge was being renovated has cost the government nearly $120,000.

The full cost of the ill-fated lease – including termination fees and legal advice – was confirmed at a budget estimates committee hearing in May.

The budget for the prime minister’s official residences (the Lodge and Kirribilli House) will increase from $1.61m in 2013-14 to $1.7m next financial year, rising to $1.77m, $1.81m and $1.86m in subsequent years. This is “for items, staff and cooking within the residences and to maintain the gardens”, but does not include the building upkeep.

Howard, the only other Prime Minister to refuse to move to where his job is, racked up over $18 million in flights between Sydney and Canberra during his term.

Tony’s daughters have also been fortunate.

His daughter Louise was appointed executive assistant to Australia’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva which is headed by former Coalition staffer Peter Woolcott.

There was internal disquiet at DFAT in Canberra about what some staff saw as a lack of transparency in the hiring and how Ms Abbott came to be doing high-level work, such as delivering a public statement on disarmament, when there were up to 14 policy specialists attached to the mission.

But a spokesman for DFAT said the job helping represent Australia to the United Nations was awarded “on the basis of merit.” Just like the unadvertised $60,000 scholarship thrust upon Frances Abbott even though she hadn’t even applied to go to the college let alone for any scholarship.

Regardless of what happens in the future, Tony will continue to be supported by the public purse for life.

Each former PM is entitled to at least two staff, including a senior private secretary, and the annual wages bill of each is about $300,000.

In 2010 it was reported that John Howard’s office was the most expensive, with expenses averaging $850,000 a year. Mr Howard’s expenses blew out well in excess of the other four former prime ministers no longer in Parliament thanks to a $450,000 office refit in 2008/09 to his swanky digs in Sydney’s MLC building, which was already costing nearly $14,000 a month to rent.

In the seven months after leaving office, Mr Howard spent $109,892 on limousine services, evenly split between the government Comcar service and private hire cars.

The former PMs also have their home and mobile phone bills paid by taxpayers, as well as unlimited allowances for publications, a private self-drive car, and air fares for them and their spouse.

These are in addition to their pensions under the generous former Parliamentary superannuation scheme, which gives them a pension indexed to current MPs’ salaries for life.

Assuming Tony Abbott remains Prime Minister for the next four years he could walk away with an annual pension of more than $380,500 and that’s not including the rest of the perks.

So when Tony shows no understanding of how real people live, when he wastes money on war toys while cutting pensions, it isn’t really his fault that he has no idea how to prioritise spending. Other people have always paid for Tony. No HECS debt for him, no applying for jobs, no making sacrifices to save for retirement, no wondering how to pay phone and electricity bills, no waiting for a flight or ringing a cab.

That self-satisfied smirk from Tony is not because he doesn’t care, it’s because he doesn’t have to.


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  1. Jeanette

    The £10 pom!! and he still has that upper and lower class thinking and look what low pommie migrant got free, he makes me puke

  2. John Fraser


    @Kaye Lee

    "This contempt for philosophy and political economy seemed to disappear when it was suggested to Tony that he might be able to get a free ticket to Oxford via a Rhodes Scholarship."

    The next paragraph could be Edited in :

    "Shortly after being told he had won a Rhodes Scholarship Mr Abbott applied for and got Australian citizenship by descent from his Australian mother in 1981."

    The above quote came from this Link ( https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-truth-about-our-pms-citizenship ).

    I am not recommending anyone subscribe, that entirely up to the individual.

  3. mars08

    …Nothing is free. Someone always pays.

    That’s a fact!!!

    The trick is to always get some OTHER poor sucker to pay. And the more money and influence you have, the easier it is to do.

  4. townsvilleblog

    We, so called “leaners” I am a pensioner, still pay GST which is something that pensioners past did not do. John Fraser, yes its amazing that they consider themselves as lifters when they have all had assistance from the Australian government in some way in their pasts. We ordinary Australians pay for the services that we receive, so we get nothing for free. I wonder how much corporate Australia contributes, I mean really contributes after taxation deductions for just about everything are deducted from their taxation bills? As far as I knew we allowed business in the country to make a profit so that they could contribute to the welfare of the nation that they were economically raping, however in the final breakdown, I really do wonder if there is a figure on exactly how much money business does contribute to Australia’s wellbeing?

  5. Bill Miller

    Just a minor error: Tony really doesn’t care. Tony’s understanding of complex things is zero zilch nix. The guy is an empty vessel, an airhead; a wannabe who made it with lotsa help from people who knew the truth but were sure that Tony would follow their lead becausen he knew on which side his bread was buttered. Understanding Tony is a piece of cake really. All platitudes intentionally matched to Tony who is one.

  6. John Fraser


    @Bill Miller

    A comparison with Pell ……….. its like listening to an echo.

  7. Allan Richardson

    Here is a press release that I’d like to see generated by a forward-thinking, progressive, Ted Mack sort of a leader.


    From this day forth, all previous benefits accorded to politicians will be invalidated. If they haven’t adequately provided for themselves after snouting the trough for this long, they may apply for welfare benefits, but only after an appropriate six month waiting period.

    In future, politicians at all levels will be very well paid for their important roles in managing the country on behalf of its citizens. As they should be! We want quality people for these important jobs.

    And of course they will be reimbursed all relevant expenses, pertinent to their roles. And appropriate superannuation contributions, to allow them to build a retirement fund for their dotage. Any improper behaviour will bring about immediate dismissal and loss of any outstanding privileges, and any criminal acts will invoke a mandatory prison sentence. Similarly, any politician who has been found guilty of putting personal or corporate interests ahead of the national interest will not receive any retirement benefits, and will face the full force of the law.

    But, once they have left politics, like all other Australians, they’ll need to fend for themselves. Their experience may well put them in good stead to take on management roles in private enterprise, directorships and the like, but only after a three year transitional period to ensure that they’ve not been unfairly (and criminally) rewarded for offering favours whilst in positions of authority.

    And if they wish to continue to contribute to public life after their political career, of course they should receive a modest emolument commensurate with their expertise., and the recovery of reasonable expenses.


    In other news, treasury has confirmed that the budget will return to surplus almost immediately, and will continue to grow substantially after the recently implemented parliamentary reforms.

  8. Kaye Lee


    People of integrity like Ted Mack and Tony Windsor are hard to find in politics. If you are interested in reading about the accountability and integrity of the Howard government, this speech by John Faulkner from 2006 makes for VERY interesting reading.


    One small snippet from a very sorry saga….

    “Parliamentary secretary Warren Entsch’s concrete company won a massive government contract in breach of the code. Peter Reith was appointed as a consultant to defence contractor Tenix immediately after resigning as defence minister. Health minister Michael Wooldridge signed a $5 million building deal for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and days later, after resigning as health minister, was employed by the college as a consultant. Senator Coonan, as Minister for Revenue, avoided paying a land tax. She was then exposed and forced to resign as a registered director of an insurance dispute resolution company operating from her own home.”

  9. Ian Joyner

    No, Jeannette, Abbott is much more Aussie than Pom (a term of disparagement, I don’t care for). Abbott’s mother was Australian and his father although English had already resided in Australia. They were thus an Australian family returning to Australia and were not really eligible for the £10 scheme. They thus defrauded the system.

    My family came out on the same ship Oronsay some years later, but my parents paid the whole fare, even though we would have been eligible for the £10 scheme.

    I think this is an excellent article showing Abbott for the scrounger and bludger he is – always taking advantage of the system while denying others in need access to that system, and as such, one to blame the characteristics on others, particularly hard-working ‘battlers’. Those battlers with whom Howard so successfully and underhandedly identified himself with.

  10. David Linehan

    I await the entry of a Tory troll to defend the psychopath racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, bullying, narcissistic, cowardly, Asylum Seeker persecuting, rorting, lying, paedophile defending, toxic, seminarian fleeing, sewer dwelling person. Who by default is the nations most despicable PM ever.

  11. John Armour

    In other news, treasury has confirmed that the budget will return to surplus almost immediately, and will continue to grow substantially after the recently implemented parliamentary reforms.

    You need to brush up on your macroeconomics 101 Allan.

    We need a return to surplus like a hole in the head because when all the accounting is done we find it’s come out of private sector savings.

  12. Kaye Lee

    Awise Sir Kneel and take up the defence of the Suppositowy of All Wisdom. Cast off the cwest of the Lying Wodent and take up your keyboard to sing the pwaises of the Mad Monk, Captain Catholic, our fearful leader…Killer Wabbott!

    To John, I think Allan was making the point of how much we pay for politicians’ rorts rather than expressing a desire for a surplus.

  13. John Fraser


    @Neil of Sydney

    C'Mon "Neil of Sydney" I was just showing you how Liberals Trolls behave when they hack into others Accounts.

    Surely you have realised that its the extreme religious right that hack Accounts and scribble graffiti all over the place.

    Or hadn't you noticed that.

  14. John Armour

    Great article Kaye Lee. A thoroughly forensic examination of this nasty parasite, the ‘take worm’, the ‘leaner-in-chief’.

    Perhaps a subject for another post, but we should also attack this “leaners and lifters” bullshit at its roots, the myth that the rich, through their taxes, carry the less well-off.

    In the monetary system we’ve got taxes don’t actually fund anything. The government levies taxes to manage demand, and in the limit, every cent of government spending gets taxed back. We tax the wealthy to cut back their capacity to spend not to fund welfare.

    Welfare beneficiaries owe their gratitude to the government, not the rich.

    It’s highly counter-intuitive and totally contradicts the common belief but it’s the inescapable truth and not even controversial amongst non-orthodox economics.

  15. Allan Richardson

    Thanks for the Faulkner article, Kaye. I’ll get stuck into it. Another principled progressive.

  16. John Armour

    To John, I think Allan was making the point of how much we pay for politicians’ rorts rather than expressing a desire for a surplus.

    Fair point. I missed the subtlety. Apologies all round.

  17. Allan Richardson

    Sorry John Armour. I forgot to use the ‘wildly optimistic’ font. I was referring to the vast savings that we would achieve, in the infinitesimal probability that today’s political class would vote themselves out of their lifetime troughs.

  18. corvus boreus

    Allan R,
    Sound, reasonable and practical proposals in principle, but seemingly abhorrent and implausible notions to all the sitting members(indolent dicks) in parliament.
    So many sources of hemorrhaging of public revenue and perversion of policy for the greatest good.
    It will be a blessed day when the people have a say regarding the conditions and ‘entitlements’ of politicians, and there is serious accountability over the ethics and consequences of their conduct.

  19. Kaye Lee

    I have linked to this speech by Ted Mack before. It is 12 pages long but for those with sufficient interest in accountability and alternative ideas on our system I would highly recommend it.


    The following is an excerpt.

    “A fully independent Public Service Board needs to be reinstated for all government appointments particularly for bodies such as the Ombudsman, Corruption Commissions, Auditor-General, Police Integrity Commission, the Electoral Commission, and Remuneration Tribunal.

    Appointments must be based only on proven competence and integrity. The main reason many of these bodies at present fall short of public expectations is that the executives are appointed by, and their briefs are constrained by, government. Yet their role will often involve investigation of government.

    In other words all those bodies that have no political functions but are there to ensure the integrity of the system should be independent of government. One feature of our original federal constitution that should be reinstated is a role for a directly-elected Governor-General to fully umpire the system in addition to the traditional role as head-of-state. He or she could also head a fourth arm of government known as the Integrity Branch. Such a role for the Governor-General would be spelt out in the Constitution as having no power in relation to political policy but only power to ensure integrity of government and to ensure the Constitution is upheld. The concept of a separate fourth branch of government has been canvassed in legal circles in recent years, particularly by James Spigelman in 2004, then Chief Justice of the New South Wales Supreme Court. It has been extensively examined in the October 2012 issue of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law Forum Magazine No 70. As James Spigelman pointed out in his two lectures, the concept of a separate integrity level of government is an ancient Chinese concept. In the last three decades we have informally created this fourth branch as a means of stemming various problems but with only limited success. Formalising its independence from government would certainly improve its performance.

    Serious reform is of course perhaps many years into the future and the obstacles and enemies of democratic reform are many. The political parties and their partisan supporters’ overwhelming interest is in gaining power and preserving the political duopoly.

    Big business is implacably opposed to more democracy. It wants more centralisation of power. It currently employs more than 600 registered lobbyists in Canberra and spends millions of dollars to subvert democracy.

    Big media is always constrained by its owners’ interests. Since the Second World War there has been a growth of corporate propaganda to protect corporate power against democracy.

    Nevertheless given authoritarian government has been the norm for almost all of modern human’s 200,000 year history and democracy seriously arrived just over 200 hundred years ago, it is making reasonable progress but there is a long way to go.”

  20. Allan Richardson

    Quite so, Corvus B. And when would this reform take place? As someone with your monniker would say: Nevermore, nevermore.

  21. mikestasse

    Talk about the ULTIMATE LEANER……. I feel like puking…

  22. Kaye Lee

    “Most members of the public see honesty as a core value in our society. In personal dealings, dishonesty on matters of any significance is rightly regarded as an unacceptable breach of standards. In commerce, section 52 of the Trade Practices Act prohibits companies from engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct.

    Politicians fill a vital role in our society. Why should the behaviour of politicians fall short of the standards Parliament has set for business, and which we all set for ourselves?

    Enforcing honesty in politicians would help extend the policy horizon beyond the next election.

    Courts have vast experience in judging whether a person has engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct. It is a question which courts can and should decide. One thing is certain: if it is possible for a politician to be jailed for misleading the public, we will hear a lot more truth from them. That has to be a good thing.”


  23. Ian Joyner

    No, Tony Abbott is not a £10 pom – he was an Aussie who’s family fraudulently used the £10 package to return to Australia.

  24. diannaart

    Tony Abbott, the tradition of “do as I say, not as I do” continues…

  25. Meg

    The only reason any of this is happening, is because we as a nation keep letting it happen. The only way it will change, is when we change it. We are allowed to do that, ya know?

  26. diongiles

    The perks and the high salaries and the side-bribes and corruption are a necessary part of the routine bribery by predators whose wealth and income dwarfs what even the most venal of politicians gets from the taxpayers and whose service to the community is zero whereas the pollies do create a service by performing the day-to-day tasks of governing.

    The capitalist class are on a sweet racket. They draw fabulous wealth from ownership of the wealth created by the actual wealth-producers, and they assign a relatively small slice of it to funding and controlling political parties to run electoral campaigns, and let the taxpayers do the heavy lifting to present the winners with a very nice lifestyle indeed. For access to this lifestyle the winners must govern for the sponsors, not for the country. During the Global Financial Heist the Labor politicians went as far as they dared to strike a blow for the people, and even that sent the predators ape.

    In 1975 we were represented by a government patriotic enough to go too far. So the predators stretched the constitution to breaking point to kerzonk the government. Read all about it at http://www.american-buddha.com/cia.australia.htm. About the same time the elected government of Chile was challenging the rule of the same international predators so they worked through traitors in the Chilean military to murder the President followed by thousands of Chileans. They had the same thing in mind here too – before frantic ACTU boss Bob Hawke managed to hose the backlash down British monarchy rep John Kerr warned the public that he was the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

  27. David Linehan

    Meg I suggest Labor has never had a better opportunity since Bob Hawke became leader and PM, to take a firm hold on Govt and be the great inventive, social party again. Bring policies forward to benefit their base, middle and low income earners and families. The unemployed (their refusal to increase the Newstart allowance cost them dearly), the homeless, small business. Bring back the non voters of 2013, the wavering, the disillusioned, damn it it is time to stop being a pseudo right party.
    I wont go into leadership but I will observe, I see only a handful of the Opposition senior MP’s and Senators doing the hard yards. oh and no I hadn’t forgotten…it is time to bite the ruddy bullet and rethink their Asylum Seeker policy. Lead not be led.

  28. donwreford

    Tony Abbott, who studying for qualifications for the possibility of becoming a Church ministry job, was contacted by a friend from Australia, now in London, making big time money deals, on Abbott, hearing from how exciting business deals and paid hotels were, plus London, clubs, made it easy for Abbott, to give up writing essays on “The Desert Fathers”, such as the Essene’s, came to the conclusion politics and business, were more more exciting, and the money, than the call of the church, the ambitious Tony, now responding to the call of power, the rest is history.

  29. Rob031

    Christopher Pyne: no university reform could mean research funding cuts.
    Education minister disparages student protesters on fees: ‘We’re not exactly asking for their left kidney’


    I wonder if the ‘left kidney’ comment will explode in his face (just as Hockey’s memorable comment about poor people and cars) did. Here goes my latest fantasy:

    * ‘Kidneygate’, ‘KidneyMail’ (etc.) goes viral in the media
    * Pyne tries to clarify what he sees as an innocuous comment
    * But it’s already got away on him and any attempt to explain it simply makes it worse
    * He is soon forced to make a grovelling ‘apology’
    * Someone else takes over the sales job

    Oh well…

  30. kerrilmail

    The lavish Canberra home Tony Abbott refused to move into while the Lodge was being renovated has cost the government nearly $120,000.

    Shouldn’t this read ….. has cost the taxpayer……….
    Abbott doesn’t just lean he plonks his full weight on the people of Australia, most of whom hate his guts!

  31. Florence nee Fedup

    What he means, sociology along with teaching Marx and others have to go. One cannot afford to enlighten our youth and others, theories of how society works

  32. abbienoiraude

    This article is breathtakingly important to the nth degree.
    Thank you thank you. I will have to print it out to give to those who just don’t get it.

    Love your research Kaye!

    Thank YOU!

  33. Kaye Makovec

    His sense of entitlement is due to his ‘superior in his eyes’ birthplace.
    He enjoys the carry over of having his own set of fags and toadies in his ministry to do his dirty work too.

    I can honestly say I have never in my life despised any other Australian government such as this one, and there have been a few.
    In fact every time I see a headline stating “The Australian Government has ………. ” I want to yell, “it’s not Australia, just Abbott and Co!”

  34. Dianne Longson

    Thank you Kaye Lee. A fabulous article! Re your comments on Honesty. Without honesty we don’t actually have a democracy, for when we are lied to by prospective/incumbent politicians, we no longer can make valid choices about our votes. I know several people who admit to voting for the liberal party and by default Mr Abbott and his gang. They are all crying now.

  35. Anne Byam

    Brilliant summaries and observations in your article, Kaye …. thank you.

  36. Krystal

    Lazy inaccurate reporting dressed in moronic pettiness. Wouldn’t expect any more from the queen of inaccuracy, kate lee. You know that you can be paid to be so incorrect? Your future is at woman’s day or new idea. Leave politics to those in the know.

  37. Michael Taylor

    But not where you work. Preferably in a place where they bother to spell someone’s name correctly.

  38. John Fraser


    Kyrstal …. what a pretty name.

    ha ha ha

  39. Kaye Lee


    If I have said something that is incorrect please point it out and I will happily correct it.

  40. Anne Byam

    Oooo wheee …. we have a tiny nasty in our midst, maybe even a little troll ( or the same one ) . Kaye ( that’s K.A.Y.E … for your edification ) does not post anything that she doesn’t check or research. And by hell, she knows her subjects very very well. Go back to your own stack of magazines, sit quietly and read. You might ( one day ) learn something….. then again you mightn’t.

  41. Peggy Dalton

    I am an American, and appreciate the article and the comments.

    Your situation in Australia has many similarities to the US. Our politicians reward themselves again and again.

    You may have a learner-in-chief, and the US has a community organizer at the helm with a penchant for political fund-raising and golf.

    Thank you for thoughtful remarks. As I was reading it occurred to me that the Philosophy of Political Economics is to shift every possible expense onto the poor bloke at the bottom.

  42. corvus boreus

    If you are cognizant of inaccuracies in Kaye Lee’s article please provide a detailed refutation of the factual errors in the piece, which even has details like dates and titles to assist you.
    Accurate information is appreciated by all, including the author.
    If you have no such contra-information and are merely going to disparage with generalised poo-poos sprinkled with derogatives, I will be forced to assume you are merely a silly troll with a ditzy sounding name.

  43. michaelattoowoomba

    @corvus boreus.
    Spot on, so obvious,a troll. It is clear as……..: Krystal “???

  44. Möbius Ecko

    …with a penchant for political fund-raising and golf.

    As did your previous president Peggy.

    George W Bush also worked the least hours of any of your presidents, often starting late and having long lunch breaks in the gym. He also took more vacations and time off than any other POTUS in your history, beating out his father, who took the second most vacation time as POTUS.

    Seems our current government is following suit in claiming privileges and largess for themselves whilst actively denying that to the general population, especially those most marginalised and the least well off.

  45. Kaye Lee

    The vast majority of politicians enjoy entitlements (read rorts) that the rest of us can only dream about (Ted Mack being a notable exception). The reason I draw attention to Tony is because of his rhetoric – “lifters and leaners”, “Nothing is free” etc. His idea of Team Australia is for the rich to blame the poor, the sick, the elderly, the unemployed, the disabled, single parents, students, Labor and the Greens for the nation’s woes (not sure if we are in crisis or doing well today).

  46. Möbius Ecko

    That’s the point Kaye Lee. It’s always known that politicians milk the system and some like Abbott openly rort it, but because of their attacks on the less well off and needy in society this government has bought attention to those rorts. Like Hockey having his wife buy a house in Canberra and then renting it off her so he can claim $237 per day from the tax payer and use that money to pay of his main house.

    Currently it’s only the MSM that preventing these rorts becoming big news as they are all over social and online media.

  47. diannaart

    Möbius Ecko

    “Like Hockey having his wife buy a house in Canberra and then renting it off her so he can claim $237 per day from the tax payer and use that money to pay of his main house”

    Could you provide the source for this claim? Not having a go – I wish to send on this utter hypocrite’s greed to as many people as I can. How much is enough for people such as this?

  48. Lee

    Abbott really is the ultimate leaner. Now Australians are learning the hard way that career politicians with few skills and experiences in the real world are absolutely useless politicians and out of touch with the electorate. I also struggle to understand how such a seemingly rudderless man was an attractive marriage prospect. Margie is probably a non event too. No wonder they have raised another generation of leaners.

  49. Lee

    Diannaart, just google it. It has been reported on numerous news sites.

  50. Kaye Lee


    “JOE Hockey has defended his practice of claiming a $270-a-night taxpayer-funded travelling allowance to stay in a Canberra house majority-owned by his wife on the grounds that it is an entirely legitimate practice embraced by scores of Labor MPs.

    The Treasurer has legitimately claimed $108,000 in travel allowance for 368 nights over the past four years including many nights for parliamentary sitting weeks where he has stayed at the Canberra house.

    The Hockey family’s astute purchase of the property in one of Canberra’s premier suburbs is a well-known story in political circles. The home is worth an estimated $1.5 million according to local real estate agents. But the Hockey clan picked up the property for a song, purchasing it for just $320,000 in 1997.

    In his recently published biography Not Your Average Joe, a former Liberal MP Ross Cameron boasts that Mr Hockey struck a golden deal, spotting the house when driving in Canberra.

    “The house was a piece of Hockey mercantile genius,’’ Mr Cameron said.

    Biographer Madonna King writes that the seller, who according to ACT lands title records was called Robert Hamilton wanted “no part in lawyers or agents.’

    “So Joe, the lawyer, called his father, the real estate agent, who took the owner out for a beer,’’ Ms King writes.

    “The Hockey’s scored the house for land value. Joe’s father didn’t mention he was a real estate agent, buying the property on behalf of his lawyer son.’’


  51. diannaart

    Thank you Kaye Lee for your helpful and informative response. I really hadn’t heard this before – yes, I could’ve googled it but somehow much more edifying to receive a comprehensive response like yours.

    It is all about communication.


  52. Florence nee Fedup

    The PM is their to distribute monies supply by taxpayers, which is all of us, to create a fair and civil society. To create the environment that leads to economic prosperity.

    He his not their too be chief salesman for the coal and gas industry in particular. He is not there to open up the country to be ripped off and rorted by overseas corporations.

  53. Lee

    “Thank you Kaye Lee for your helpful and informative response. I really hadn’t heard this before – yes, I could’ve googled it but somehow much more edifying to receive a comprehensive response like yours.

    It is all about communication.


    Sorry I don’t have access to a fantastic internet connection 24/7 so I can spoon feed you.

  54. diannaart


    Put your mind at rest and stop worrying your little head – I definitely do not want you to spoon-feed me. Now go back to pulling wings off flies or whatever you do when not abusing other people.

  55. Lee

    Diannaart, what makes you think I’m worried about you? If you knew me as well as you claim you do, you would know I can’t be bothered with people who are too lazy to help themselves.

  56. DanDark

    Diannart now that’s funny, I hardly comment on here now because of the nasty folk on here, but I reckon that’s a great comeback to an uncalled for comment,
    “Now go back to pulling wings off flies or whatever you do when not abusing other people.”
    I will have to remember that one thanks for making my day Diannaart 🙂

  57. diannaart

    Cheers DanDark.

    Now you have passed on the compliment – my day is made.


  58. Florence nee Fedup

    “He his not their too be chief salesman”

    Sorry once again.

    :He is not there to be chief salesman..”

  59. David Linehan

    Oh it is so sweet, a couple of Tory trolls canoodling…kiss kiss all better now!!

  60. Choppa

    So let’s get this straight:

    The Assisted Passage Migration Scheme was free? No it wasn’t free. At least Tony had one fully fledged Australian parent and another who had already done time in Australia. Gillard came over under the same scheme, with nothing Australian about her.

    So if a wealthy person pays for schooling – that is free? Um.

    Do they just hand out Rhodes scholarships for free to anyone? Or do you earn them? Wrong again..

    What do you have against catholics?

    If people can get employment just through asking – why are people unemployed? Is it true some of them might just be bludgers who don’t try?

    C’mon now – you are just making stuff up with “Abbott soon quit the job as it wasn’t paying enough” – but you are short on anything decent to say, so why not just lie?

    Sounds like Tony has done bloody well holding jobs. What a fine example he is for the rest of us. eh.

    You talk about primeministers like they aren’t all the same. Are you telling me Shorten or Milne will pay for all of their travel etc? Or is it part of their employment package? Yes, yes it is – it is not free, it is in the contract..duh. You know we also pay for the ipads, travel etc. for anyone in the public service? What are you getting at here?

    He wasn’t gifted his position as the Lib leader or as PM – he was appointed by his peers because he was the best man for the job. Not because he was a climate denier. He was voted in as PM by millions of Australians – you seem to forget this.

    If he was sitting on his ass doing nothing – you may have made one bit of since in this article – but since he’s not, this is just another display of whinging. Why waste time whinging when you could be out trying to achieve something useful? Because the system makes it so you don’t have to…and that’s the point.

  61. Lee

    “What do you have against catholics?”

    How long do you have?

    “Sounds like Tony has done bloody well holding jobs. What a fine example he is for the rest of us. eh.”

    Hell yeah. In fact, I recommend a seminary or convent as a place of employment for a lot of people. There are some who would perform a community service if they did not breed.

    “He wasn’t gifted his position as the Lib leader or as PM – he was appointed by his peers because he was the best man for the job. Not because he was a climate denier. He was voted in as PM by millions of Australians – you seem to forget this.”

    No, Tony Abbott was not on my ballot paper, nor on the ballot papers of millions of Australians. Labor polled more first preference votes than the Liberal party did in the 2013 Federal election actually.

    “Do they just hand out Rhodes scholarships for free to anyone? Or do you earn them? Wrong again..”

    Well let’s have a look at some of the desirable qualities in a Rhodes scholar, shall we?


    “Rhodes’s vision in founding the Scholarship was to develop outstanding leaders who would be motivated to fight ‘the world’s fight’ and to ‘esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim’, and to promote international understanding and peace.”

    “truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship”
    “moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.”

    Oh dear, poor Tony comes up a bit short there!

    Thanks for the laugh.

  62. Florence nee Fedup

    He had mandate to from government. All else is udo to how each MP votes. They have been given this mandate by their electorate.

    Yes, good governance is expected from all governments. Yes, he sad he would reduce debt. No one has any problem with that.

    Abbott’s problem is, he neglected to tell us how he would do it. Went even further, when challenged by Labor, made promises that he would not do as he has done.

    No one is attacking Abbott for his aims in this budget. They are attacking him for how he is doing it.

    He has identified the wrong problems. Is applying solutions that are not fair. Are not good for the economy,. Will not do as he says.

    It is a toxic and inequitable budget.

    Australians deal with tough, even horror budgets when needed. This one is not what is needed.

  63. Prime Minister Tony Abbott

    I await the entry of a Tory troll to defend the psychopath racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, bullying, narcissistic, cowardly, Asylum Seeker persecuting, rorting, lying, paedophile defending, toxic, seminarian fleeing, sewer dwelling person. Who by default is the nations most despicable PM ever.

    Look, this is all very flattering and everything, but if you people of the left are going to keep listing my finer character traits I’m going to end up with a huge ego problem. Please tone it down a bit. I have a reputation for humility to protect.

  64. Kaye Lee


    Children travelled for FREE. There is also some dispute as to whether his parents were eligible for assisted passage as his father had lived here during the war and been backwards and forwards through the 40s and 50s and his mother was an Australian citizen.

    Tony’s education did not cost HIM anything. He was paid for and kept by his father at school, got free tertiary education, then the Rhodes Trust paid for his English sojourn, then the Catholic Church. He was 30 before he had to pay a bill or look for a job. He wrote a few articles and speeches for a few years and then the taxpayer picked up the bill for him.

    Half of my family are Catholic including my father and my husband. I have nothing against them.

    Tony’s employment came through the old school tie network. His own words about leaving the concrete plant – “By then I was married with a baby on the way. For a time, my interest in politics actually helped the family. I went back to journalism, as a leader writer at The Australian, because it meant higher pay.”

    As for climate change, Malcolm Turnbull’s words – “the fact is that Tony and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change.”

    And I don’t consider informing people like you a waste of time Choppa. You clearly don’t have access to credible sources so I am happy to help.

  65. Kirsten Tona

    Kaye Lee, do you have an official fan club of some kind that I can join?

    Your beautifully-written and -researched articles are one of the few reliefs available from the current culture of banality and/or stupidity.
    As is your habit of engaging with the commenters—negative and positive—rationally, respectfully, exhaustively.

    I don’t suppose we could prevail upon you to stand for Parliament at some point…? Not that I would wish it on my worst enemy, the ghastly people you would have to associate with, for one thing, *shudders delicately*, but if you ever do see your way clear to making such a sacrifice, please know we’d be lining up around the block to volunteer on your campaign team. 🙂

  66. Kaye Lee

    Thank you for your kind words Kirsten. As for joining the club, you are already part of it. The contributors to this site (authors and commenters) help keep me sane and teach me a great deal so thank you to you all. As for running for Parliament, my wardrobe doesn’t include Armani suits and I don’t like having my photo taken so I don’t think I have the attributes for this current Parliament. If they ever get around to actually governing in the best interests of the people rather than pooncing around from one photo op to the next, if they start behaving like adults rather than squabbling children, if they start listening to experts and working together to find the best solutions, then maybe it would be worthwhile. Social functions and ridiculous scripted gotcha questions are not my style.

  67. Greycells

    One would hope that we, the voters have learnt our lesson, however, I suspect that while our two-party duopoly remains as such, history will continue to repeat itself. Fortunately, the tentacles of big-league religion, are unlikely to take hold to any great extent inside our corridors of political power – at least not in the foreseeable future. In the mean time, perhaps the best way for voters to prepare for the next election, would be to avoid at all costs exposing themselves to News Limited Media in any of its myriad guises, and also consider enrolling for some memory training.

  68. Trevor

    A fascinating piece Kaye Lee and my thanks for the Article. Great commentary from the assorted listed writers.

    Choppa before you choppa your ears off, like your name sake, maybe the word LEANERS is too difficult for your understanding whether it refers to PM’s, Politicians, Business Leaders, Public Servants or whoever else. If you as an individual abrogate the responsibility to decide right from wrong and act against the best interests of a community, then you can be rightfully called a LEANER. If you can’t discern whether you may be a LEANER or not, then more than likely you are a LEANER, In Abbott’s case he rejoices in the facts presented daily that he has mastered the art of being a LEANER of the highest order.

    Now to do something for the shitstem that progresses the Affluent Effluent to have influence beyond their collective intellectual capability.
    Or how to get the bog standard rich and infamous of this country to act in regard to other than their shoesize!

    John is that factual about Abbott and citizenship? Can you point me to this data? Thanks

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