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Prudent limitations

Two days before the 2013 Federal election Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb published a media release titled Final update on Federal Coalition Election Policy Commitments.

In it they categorically state:

“Today’s announcement also confirms that the Coalition will increase spending on hospitals, schools, defence and medical research – a far cry from the deceitful lies coming from the Prime Minister and the Labor Party that the Coalition would cut health and education.”

They also stated that “Reductions in projected aid spending of $4.5 billion” would be spent on roads whilst reassuring us that “The Coalition remains committed to the Millennium Development goal of increasing foreign aid to 0.5 per cent of GNI over time.

In fact they slashed foreign aid by $11 billion meaning Australian foreign aid spending will reach its lowest level since records began. By 2016-17, it will be just over $3.8 billion, or 0.22 per cent of gross national income.

But it was a later promise that made me literally guffaw.

The Coalition will achieve “a further 0.25 per cent efficiency dividend on the public service ($428 million) through prudent limitations on Government advertising and consultancies as well as on Government travel.”

There are countless articles about the hundreds of millions spent by this government on advertising, market research, consultancies and media monitoring. They employ an army of spin doctors and have commissioned more reviews than I could list.

We have all heard about Tony’s use of private jets to fly around to parties but it is the overseas travel that drew my attention and in particular, the comings and goings of Bronwyn Bishop as she doesn’t hold a portfolio.

Shortly after being installed as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ms Bishop led a delegation to Switzerland in an unsuccessful attempt to secure the presidency of the Inter-Parliamentary Union at their 129th Assembly.

The 126-year-old Inter-Parliamentary Union aims to safeguard peace and drive positive democratic change so Bishop’s decision to segregate people with face coverings in Parliament did nothing for her chances.

Ms Bishop and her delegation, consisting of Liberals Nola Marino and Senator Cory Bernardi, and Labor’s Tony Zappia and Senator Glenn Sterle, travelled to Geneva via Rome, Brussels and Vienna.

Whilst the outgoing delegations and visits list the dates as 6-10 October 2013, Bronwyn claimed from 4-12 October almost $27,000 for the trip including $17576.12 for fares and $6955.61 for accommodation and meals.

Then she was off again in January leading a delegation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to attend the 22nd Annual meeting of APPF, an organisation of parliamentarians from the Asia-Pacific region. On the way home she came via New Zealand where she attended the Conference of Speakers, Presiding Officers and Clerks.

For this trip, 11-24 January, Ms Bishop claimed $49,000 with $37,684.90 for fares and $8053.02 for accommodation and meals.

Though not being listed in the delegation to the 130th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, and bilateral visit to the United Arab Emirates, she must have gone along as she claimed $17000 for official travel to Singapore, UAE and Switzerland 9-23 March.

Less than a week later Ms Bishop was off to the USA, Trinidad and Tobago for a trip with no explanation other than Official Travel. For this trip, 29 March to 9 April, she claimed over $53,000 with $36,432.92 spent on fares and $10,307.04 on accommodation and meals.

A couple of weeks later, once again with no explanation other than Official Travel, she was off to Singapore, UK, Morocco, Tunisia and France. From 27 April to 10 May she claimed almost $59,000 with $38,428.92 for fares, $11,776.54 for accommodation, and $6,707.18 for ground transport.

In total, from October 2013 to the end of June 2014, Bronwyn Bishop claimed $205,026.19 for overseas travel.

Whilst the expense claims for the second half of 2014 have not yet been published, records show the following trips for Ms Bishop:

9 to 20 September 2014 Visit to Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos and Korea by the Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives (no purpose given)

3 to 18 October 2014 Parliamentary Delegation to attend the 131st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Geneva, Switzerland Delegation members: The Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP (Leader of the Delegation), Ms Nola Marino MP, Senator Cory Bernardi, Senator Glenn Sterle, Mr Tony Zappia MP.

10 to 16 January 2015 Parliamentary Delegation to attend the 23rd Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, Quito, Ecuador Delegation members: The Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP (Leader of the Delegation), Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald, Senator Anne McEwen, Mr Ewen Jones MP, Ms Joanne Ryan MP.

In the six months from January to June 2014, the claims for overseas travel by Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop and Andrew Robb added to $1,185,856.02 – almost $200,000 a month in overseas travel for these three alone.

In the same six months, Western Australian politicians claimed over $1 million in domestic fares with Michaelia Cash topping the list racking up $72,217.34 – over $12,000 per month in domestic fares.

There are 226 members of federal parliament. If these few snapshots represent “prudent limitations on Government travel” then it’s time we investigated teleconferencing and stopped wasting time and money on flying backwards and forwards for photo shoots or to be at question time which has become nothing more than a stage for theatrical posturing and poor behaviour.

Speaking of which . . .

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  1. babyjewels10

    Sickening, isn’t it?

  2. Kaye Lee

    It’s just so wasteful.

    They have slashed funding to so many groups that have successfully been providing services to help our vulnerable, they have slashed funding to scientists and research groups, they push efficiency dividends…I want a productivity assessment of all this travel – a cost-benefit analysis of what is achieved, a time management study done of how outcomes could be more productively achieved, a comparative efficiency study on which organisations give us the best outcomes for investment.

  3. Sir ScotchMistery

    But WE Australians continue to vote for them.

    Fool me once – shame on you
    Fool me twice – shame on me

  4. Sir ScotchMistery

    That of course is a generalist “we”, a bit like the generalist “wee” of T Abbott, current occupant of the chair normally reserved for prime ministers, when he opens his mouth and pisses all over all of us.

  5. stephentardrew

    It is just gob smacking the lack of effort by the Labor Party to hold the LNP to account. It appears they all have their noses in the same trough.

    The excuse that Labor is just lying low is utter rubbish when issues of direct concern and consideration are ignored.

    The question remains who will willingly introduce a federal ICAC.

    Labor by passing the complicit date retention laws is certainly pushing many on the left beyond their sphere of influence.

    More trouble on the horizon for progressives and independents.

    Lets see how independent Labor will be on senate electoral reforms.

    Many progressives now view Labor is L-NP light and only a change of direction will stop the bleeding.


  6. Matters Not

    In total, from October 2013 to the end of June 2014, Bronwyn Bishop claimed $205,026.19 for overseas travel

    Surely you must have heard that: ‘Travel broadens the mind’.

    Bronwyn is but the exception that proves the rule.

    Note also that she has visited many ‘communist’ nations. Perhaps she is also a ‘fellow travel(l)er’?


  7. Gilly

    To confirm the waste, there is no improvement in Bronwyn Bishops performance as speaker.

  8. Sir ScotchMistery

    Yes, she is still a dog at being the speaker. Barking up the wrong tree almost daily.

    She had a reputation as the one member of the government who was most cognisant of the rules of the house. It appears to me the only rule she missed was the one discussing the word “impartiality”.

    Rough justice indeed. 300+ ALP thrown out. 5 LNP.

    She is far more of a joke than a speaker.

  9. bobrafto

    I wonder if Bronnie smokes Benson & Hedges.

    Does anybody remember that slogan?

  10. Matters Not

    Politicians travelling overseas rarely get to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the local culture. I remember being in Hanoi some years ago just walking the streets, ever fearful of crossing roads because of the never ending stream of motorcycles (over)loaded with humans, pigs or other livestock. Then came the wail of sirens signalling the arrival of a speeding motorcade, led by 20 or so police motorcyclists. The locals knew the drill. They simply got out of the way. No questions asked. They knew their ‘place’. ‘Bloody foreigners’!

    Towards the rear was a limo, decorated with some Australian flags, that also sped by. Sitting in the back was ‘Lord’ Downer.

    Yes Downer visited Vietnam (probably on several occasions) but I suspect he learnt noting of the culture. Nothing of the real Vietnam.

    Learning involves more than speeding through a city. Just sayin …

  11. jimhaz

    Yes, there is NO doubt whatsoever that parliamentary travel is being used as a massive gravy train by politicians. It seems like a OECD phenomena. To be honest the UN diplomatic scene is an abuser as well.

    It is the total lack of any desire for any form of outcome based accountability that gets up my goat and the fact that the cost of fares clearly means they are using the more expensive 5 star motels.

    by the way

    Putin went missing recently. Somehow I think this could be related.


    Maybe he replaced his balls of steel.

  12. Brad

    I don’t what’s more revolting, the money wasted on Bronwyn’s holidays or the picture at the top.

  13. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Can anyone read this article and watch the included video without feeling that this is the worst government we have ever had?
    Whitlam may have spent money like water and tried to get it by more than dodgy means but look at the rewards we have reaped as a result of his vision!
    What is Tony Abbott’s vision and that of his front bench? A nice fat parliamentary pension and travel entitlements!

  14. Sir ScotchMistery

    @Brad – you should try http://stoptonymeow.com/

    Instant relief. I couldn’t work out what the complaint was until I remembered it was on, so I do agree, but in favour of settled stomachs…

  15. Wally

    We need a committee of normal everyday people from all walks of life to sign off what is and isn’t appropriate overseas travel because our politicians certainly cannot be trusted to make the right call. The current system doesn’t make anyone accountable or ensure that it is appropriate for the tax payer to pick up the tab. The LNP have slashed spending in some very sensitive areas and it is now appropriate for them to start SLASHING what they spend on themselves and their mates.

  16. Sir ScotchMistery

    Good luck finding them, unless they just recruit 8 or 10 of us the be the committee to investigate travel rorts by liars and ne’er do wells representing the LNP and ALP. Mind you, that having been said, we may be prejudiced towards pirates, greens and Indies, IMHO. What we call in shorthand – progressives.

  17. Peter Anson

    The top photo is a winner for its depiction of gross ugliness. The article that follows confirms that the minds of these people are just as ugly.

  18. Matters Not

    Whitlam may have spent money like water

    Actually he didn’t. Budget deficits characterised the previous two decades. (Yep the Menzies’ years were deficit years and no one gave a f@ck.)

    Then along came the Whitlam government which ran budget surpluses in 1972-73, 1973-74 and 1974-75, but let’s not let the facts get in the way of an enduring historical myth.

    These facts are largely meaningless drivel and highlight the absurd discussion at the moment about budget surplus, government debt and the debt ceiling. It also goes to show that budget surpluses and the level of net government debt are NOT the benchmarks on which economic management should be judged.

    But perhaps it matters not?

  19. SirJulian Stevenson

    what a brainless cow

  20. JohnB

    Is The Speaker Biased: Bronwyn Bishop Part 4

    Watch and weep that we’re paying such incompetents so richly.
    There is a series of these youtube videos from George Stenhouse – and Part 4’s a cracker.

  21. Disillusioned

    Matters not….. My memory isn’t what it used to be but wasn’t it Whitlam who gave us our first AAA rating with all three credit rating agencies ?
    Menzies ran deficits ( I think he only had one surplus ) but all his deficits were a nation building programme following on from the war and was started by a labor government but they were all deficits that were fully funded in following years. He didn’t waste money like some of our later governments did.
    We did have a recession under Menzies ( about 1961 ) if I remember right and it was caused by Holt (treasurer) panicking about the economy overheating and bringing in a disastrous mini-budget.
    If I remember right Fraser and Howard as his treasurer lost that rating and the Hawke/ Keating government got it back.
    I have always thought Howard was our worst treasurer if you took inflation, unemployment and interest rates as a combined figure and we did have a recession under that government whether they will admit it or not !
    I think Hockey could well be even worse than Howard as a treasurer but time will tell….. He’s not looking very good at the moment.
    I get sick of people singing Howard and Costello’s praises because they were the biggest spending government in our history and it’s the tax concessions they gave the top end of town that is biting hard now.
    Rudd continued to give tax cuts just to be seen as “facial moderate” and they all seemed to think the so called “mining boom” would never end.
    It wasn’t a mining boom as such but a massive construction of future mines that was fueling the economy.
    People ( I was one ) kept saying this could not continue and a construction boom like that might never happen again and certainly won’t while existing mines continue to over supply.
    As a person who was brought up in a conservative environment ( farming communities ) I’ve become more and more disenchanted with that side of politics.
    Australian’s don’t seem to understand that the LNP are no better as money managers than any other people and when you get a finance minister comparing the federal budget to a household budget it shows how little they understand things.
    I can’t remember a worse PM…. Probably the worst Treasurer …. The worst Attorney-General …. The most biased Speaker ever……A more incompetent front bench and a more decietful government !
    This lot are about as much use as a birth control programme is to a “poofter” !!!’
    That’s from someone who has voted LNP more than I’ve voted Labor…… But I didn’t vote for Abbott and I’ll probably never vote conservative again !

  22. Florence nee Fedup

    I find Abbott reverting to his Opposition days, with a stunt/photo op in more than one state a day disgusting. , Nothing to do with government business, Cost should be met by Liberal party. What he is doing, s campaigning.

    Yesterday back to Sydney I believe, Heard he attended cricket, Today, down to Tassie to launch Pollie Ride. Then to Melbourne for Fraser’s funeral. Last event justified as PM. Not sure he should have attended aw Tony Abbott without to the family.

    Ne interesting to see where h is off to tomorrow.

  23. eli nes

    put it in the murdoch press there’s a walkley in it or risk the metadata and send it to the federal police for investigation.
    I loved her attempt to be ‘maadaam not ma damn?? What a pompous waste of space!!

  24. Matters Not

    Disillusioned @ March 27, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    I think you are about right while not sure of all the detail you provide. Like you, my memory isn’t all that it once was.

    It is indeed strange times when I agree with Twiggy and Premier Barnett when they say (sort of) that we are cutting our own economic throats by increasing ‘supply’ in a ‘market’ where the price of OUR resources are in ‘free fall’.

    (And yes I know that any ‘market’ via its very construction is always about particular interests and how they regulate same.)

    I do remember years ago, when coal prices were depressed, Japan chose to increase coal imports way above the current demand. (Apparently coal can be stored under the sea without any ill effects in the long term. And that’s what happened.)

    I can also understand that if I were a farmer growing ‘carrots’, for example, (with a bumper crop), I would have to take the price on offer because my ‘product’ would be relatively worthless in the very near future if I failed to sell.

    Not so with ‘minerals’, broadly defined.

    They can’t be ‘grown’ again. They are ‘oncers’. They should not be just given away.

    Talk about ‘intergenerational theft’.

    And I won’t mention …

    Climate change and the like re ‘legacy’.

  25. Hefina

    Why doesn’t anyone from the press Gallery throw a bucket of water over her.that would be a sight to see.

  26. Trevor Vivian

    The shitstem for gravy trainers with cross party snouts firmly in the trough appall. The culture of politics in Ozland and its political class appall. These stinking low life spivs, leaners and career theives thrive on comparison of they did it, do it so it’s all ok. Nary a comment raised. Nary any thought but grease the wheels of depravity and thank you taxpayer, now piss off till the next election comes on round. Nary any questions raised by major party arranged hypocrites gouging the public with this parliamentary disease. Well well well, three holes in the ground. This Country is being sacked by the greedy selfish lying thieving abnoxious sleight of hand masters of 2nd rate deception, with no attempts tto even keep it hidden like generations past. Now it is flaunted, in every way with complicit media and their own career gravy train. The wealthy few the affluent effluent are
    Not just on the nose, no , they pique and reek of their self appointed self importance and decide to run your wage for your slavery and women go backwards in wages with c+++ faced Abbott appointing the minister for Ironing for hisself. In a dictionary career means to be mobile and out of control. And this is held up as the highest choice for lifestyle. A career. Yes this shitstem is well out of control and careerists career everywhere worse than the most arrogant obnoxious images that berate the apathy that grips Ozland from its crummy invading start to its present day wage slavery and brainwashed future snout trough trainees awaiting their turn. What a place, Australia, the South Pacific’s number one terror state. DILLIGAF.

  27. Anthony John Hogarth


  28. townsvilleblog

    Much like the USA tories they always have money for wars or for weapons of war, but never any money for people. The LNP are taking baby steps forward in public funding which hardly keeps up with demand, they need to be ousted.

  29. crypt0

    I wonder just what the LNP/ALP mob will do when they have sold absolutely EVERYTHING still in public ownership?
    It seems the NSW Greens have done quite well today, mostly at the expense of the ALP.
    Expect more of the same.

  30. Jean

    CAnt believe this government and the way it’s spending tax payers money shame on you all

  31. Owen

    Could save a few dollars here smokin Joe remember the waste? , Every dollar spent of taxpayer money needs to a have a cost benefit to the taxpayer or its just waste ! Perhaps your party is due for some efficiency dividend savings like @ the ABC and SBS …Just saying….oh as far as Data Collection goes please feel free Mr Abbott to collect my political opinions. and read others I have commented on..as.most of the ones that I see out in social and independent media appear to have more credibility and merit than what your ministry seem to be able to muster together “2014 Budget” just an example! Perhaps your next great idea you get ..just do the opposite and you would be closer to the mark in fairness etc.. one more thing. Oh seeing as though I comment on lots of your stuff please count me as a Journalist on your asio registers…….

  32. flohri1754

    The hypocrisy becomes almost too much to stomach ……

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