With all the furore about Bronwyn Bishop’s ever growing list of expense abuses, little attention has been paid to those of Tony Abbott who, in the six months from July to December last year, claimed over $1 million dollars in “entitlements” including $814,115.78 for overseas travel.
Abbott travelled to India and Malaysia from 3 Sep to 7 Sep 14. He charged $235.80 for three comcar trips in Canberra on the 3rd so would not have arrived until late that evening at best. He also charged $791.43 for five trips on the 7th, four in Sydney and one in Canberra so presumably must have left on the night of the 6th, arriving back some time on the 7th.
This means that he only had three days away to visit the two countries for which he charged us $50,177.24 for accommodation and meals, $12,407.63 for ground transport, $14,952.77 for “official hospitality non-portfolio related” and $13,559.76 for “related travel expenses”. In total, these few days cost us $104,715.05.
He also travelled to the USA on 23 Sep to 28 Sep 14. With comcar trips on both those days, he was away for five nights at most for which he charged us $76,934.84 for accommodation and meals, $31,820.82 for ground transport, and $8,993.70 for “related travel expenses” – $132,221.61 in total.
Another trip paid in this claim was to Indonesia, France, Canada and the USA from 4 Jun to 16 Jun 14
Accommodation and meals $98,049.90
Ground transport $101,188.59
Official hospitality non portfolio related $11,027.76
Related travel expenses $78,801.32
When all your transport, accommodation, meals and sundries like equipment allowance, medical costs and travel advances are paid for, what the hell is left for “related travel expenses”? And why are we paying for non-portfolio related hospitality?
This six month period also cost us $84,427.66 for car costs. The following excerpt of just two days is typical – 16 trips costing us $3,673,11. If you are doing 16 trips in two days in 4 different states you aren’t spending too much time in any one spot – Canberra to Sydney to Melbourne to Sydney to Brisbane to Canberra.
8 Oct 14 – Canberra $47.16
8 Oct 14 – Sydney $438.85
8 Oct 14 – Sydney $463.85
(The Sydney trip was to appear on the Alan Jones show though I fail to see how the airport to Pyrmont could cost over $400)
8 Oct 14 – Melbourne $60.85
8 Oct 14 – Melbourne $72.75
8 Oct 14 – Melbourne $265.82
8 Oct 14 – Melbourne $295.85
9 Oct 14 – Melbourne $172.80
9 Oct 14 – Melbourne $143.55
9 Oct 14 – Sydney $262.00
9 Oct 14 – Sydney $221.50
9 Oct 14 – Brisbane $193.64
9 Oct 14 – Brisbane $70.00
9 Oct 14 – Brisbane $451.71
9 Oct 14 – Brisbane $472.78
9 Oct 14 – Canberra $40.00
There were also many charges of $40 for when comcars were cancelled.
These photo shoots are costing us a fortune but you can see how important they are to Tony because he gets to charge $560 travelling allowance for every night he spends in Australia other than in Canberra or Sydney – 34 nights in this claim.
Every electorate has a local member. Is it really necessary for Tony Abbott to fly to all these places and use comcars to appear in front of a group of head nodders or to don a high-vis vest and hard hat? Couldn’t the local member press the flesh? Couldn’t some things be achieved through teleconferencing?
No wonder Tony isn’t pointing fingers at anybody else.
Polticians’ expense entitlements are costing us half a billion dollars a year on top of their salaries. We are paying for them to campaign for their own jobs. We are paying for them to attend fundraisers and sporting events and the opera. We are paying for limos and private jets.
For too long this has gone on unchallenged. If the age of entitlement is over, let’s start with those who are calling for the rest of us to tighten our belts.
Update: “It’s been reported that before Bronwyn Bishop and “choppergate” hit the media, Tony Abbott was on a VIP RAAF jet from Brisbane to Darwin for a CLP fundraiser at Crocodylus Park.
The NT News reported that “Mr Abbott participated in personal training with Defence Force troops the day after the fundraiser and observed Talisman Sabre exercises which were held near Darwin”.
While he was here, he got snapped by the N.T News with Member for Solomon Natasha Griggs as they exited a blackhawk helicopter and walked across the tarmac, wearing Top Gun type gear.”
Interestingly, the article from the N.T. News as well as a similar article from perthnow have both been removed. (Google ‘tony abbott helicopter ride natasha griggs’ and you will see the original links).
272 total views, 1 views today