NEWS.com.au brings this story about a trip to the Canberra National Pistol Club organised by The Parliamentary Partners Association. The story informs us that partners of Parliamentary Members are granted a nine-trip allowance at taxpayers expense;
The spouses’ travel entitlement allows partners to accompany federal members and senators to Canberra once in every parliamentary month.
In most cases this will mean a free trip here by plane. One great quote from the article had an MP saying; “They (Parliamentary spouses’) can fly up to iron their husbands’ shirts if the like,”
The article raises the issues of gun control and Parliamentary perks. But what is wrong with this trip? Yes pollies do seem to get a lot of perks but I see nothing wrong with having a scheme so spouses can spend a little time with their other halves. Most large employers factor in remote locality payment into salaries; the mining industry and military service leap to mind but I’m sure there are many other examples.
So is the issue the activity? Would the story be news worthy if it was a trip to a art gallery, a soccer game or even a day of paintball? While their other halves are in parliament do we really expect spouses to sit around doing nothing or perhaps do the ironing? Sporting shooting is highly regulated and is broadly recognised as just that, a sport. Should not the issues relating to gun control, especially as most crimes involving firearms involve illegal firearms, relate to better enforcement of the laws we have rather than tightening laws that would only effect those already obeying them?