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Someone really hates Canberra

asp 20 September 2007 31

Okay, Canberra isn’t the most exciting place in the world. But how much would you spend to get away from it on weekends and when on leave? Probably not $180 000+. Yet our taxpayer funded Mr Peanut dear Prime Minister is spending that much, escaping Canberra for his preferred residence at Kirribilli House in Sydney. Depending on what costs you include, Johnny has spent some $187,550 to as much as $1.6million in 2006 escaping this city on RAAF VIP jets. Had he used Qantas like all his ministers and fellow MPs do, he would have only spent $50,709. Is Canberra really so bad?


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31 Responses to Someone really hates Canberra
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asp 2:30 am 22 Sep 07

Okay, new deal. He gets the SeaSprite and Tiger Helicopters flying and he can keep the jet.

Also, the VIP fleet consists of 3 DeHaviland Challenger jets, These have a pretty tainted safety record given the prototype crashed and burned and there have been several incidents since.

What is it about the ADF and didge aircraft?

Pickle 10:33 pm 21 Sep 07

Pay peanuts attract monkeys, for christs sake at least let the PM (whatever side of politics) play with the expensive toys.

barney 7:18 pm 21 Sep 07

John Howard is an old and sneaky nazi bastard.

asp 6:25 pm 21 Sep 07

Okay, lets let Johnny live in Sydney. That's his prerogative. But in this age of telecommunications and the internet, why not save him the trouble (and us the expense) of jetting him around. I propose an LCD display be placed at the desk in the House of Reps where he sits with a webcam. You know, one of those iMacs. That way it's just like he's really there. And when he needs to speak, Costello can pick Howard up and place him on the dispatch box, therefore demeaning him further and maybe removing the god damn smirk!

Absent Diane 4:36 pm 21 Sep 07

if I were PM I would live in a giant igloo made out of ICE (not the cold stuff). I would name the igloo Where the fck is my hat

astrojax 2:37 pm 21 Sep 07

if i were pm, i'd be living in.... constant fear of being found out i knew nought about politics : )

and a large villa in portugal.

captainwhorebags 8:21 am 21 Sep 07

Well clearly he's allowed to live where he wants and we foot the bill, because he's super super important.

I think he's daft for staying in Sydney when he could just take over some Barrier Reef island and get free flights to and fro whenever needed. After all, he's the PM.

Thumper 8:12 am 21 Sep 07

FFS, he is the Prime Minister!

dare one say, the most important person in the country, apart from Ricky Ponting.

asp 5:09 pm 20 Sep 07

To my knowledge, the VIP fleet has none of the added security and safety features such as those of Air Force One. If someone wanted to shoot it down with a grenade launcher, he might appreciate the agile handling of a smaller aircraft.

Also, we don't even own the 737s. They're leased.

"there are certain risks and responsibilities involved every time the PM travels somewhere."

Yes, so why take added risks by flying to Sydney for the harbour views.

hingo_VRCalaisV6 4:42 pm 20 Sep 07

Why not an ultra-light? When did Australia turn into the worlds largest congregation of tight-arses?

I see your point, however, we will have these 737's whether the PM uses them or not. I think letting them sit in a hangar is a waste. The PM getting around in a small prop plane would be a bit of a joke and would be the laughing stock of the world.

I don't know if you realise, but there are certain risks and responsibilities involved every time the PM travels somewhere. He isn't exactly Joe Average at Central Station waiting to get the XPT.

asp 4:23 pm 20 Sep 07

Beechcraft King Air

asp 4:22 pm 20 Sep 07

"Canberra is the capital of Australia because its in the constitution"

Perhaps. But the Prime Minister isn't. It's true, the PM is not officially stated, he exists out of convention.

"Mr Howards electorate is in Sydney and so is his home. I don’t see a problem with him living there."

Yes, in Bennalong, where he still has a house.

"aren’t the aircraft official stored and maintained at Richmond Airbase?"

The VIP fleet (No. 34 "Transport" Squadron) is based in Canberra at the Fairbarn Hanger. Strangely, they are reported to return to Canberra instead of staying in Sydney.

"I think it would be a far greater tragedy for taxpayer’s money being spent on maintenance costs on a plane that was not even used."

The fleet consists of five aircraft. 3 Challengers and 2 737s. Okay, I accept most of you do not have a problem with the PM racking up the travel bill for purely personal purposes. Though one must note that both the US President and British PM don't do it with such frequency. But it is disappointing that he uses petrol guzzling jets, Why not a Dash-8 or smaller prop such as a

Mr Evil 4:18 pm 20 Sep 07

34SQN is based at RAAF Fairbairn, and they operate 2 Boeing 737s and 3 Challenger 600 jets for VIP duties.

edlang 4:14 pm 20 Sep 07

hingo, is Kirribilli House in Bennelong? Or maybe Howard's plane lands on the M2.

hingo_VRCalaisV6 4:08 pm 20 Sep 07

The PM is allowed to use the VIP jets because he is a VIP. How more important can a VIP get in Australia?

Mr Howards electorate is in Sydney and so is his home. I don't see a problem with him living there. The Lodge has not changed, it is still the official house of the PM, but I don't think they should be forced to live there. Nobody else in Australia is forced to live anywhere unless you are a prisoner.

We aren't talking about travelling across a continent here, we are talking about a 3 hour drive at best. Besides, aren't the aircraft official stored and maintained at Richmond Airbase?

I think it would be a far greater tradgedy for taxpayer's money being spent on maintenance costs on a plane that was not even used.

I think there are far bigger issues to be concerned about. There are dole bludging junkie idiots spending more of your taxpayer dollars than this aircraft every day.

Avacry 3:55 pm 20 Sep 07

Easy answer. Canberra is the capital of Australia because its in the constitution.

$180,000 is not a lot of money to pay to keep a countries leader safe in travel. Imagine how much money the Australian economy would lose if something bad happened.

asp 3:36 pm 20 Sep 07

Some have asked if the PM should drive himself. Well, no. But why do so many MPs use ComCars? Hell, the Queen of England as well as numerous countries often drive themselves. In a recent documentary about Windsor Castle, the Queen jumped in the driver's seat and actually drove the driver and staff. Prince Philip too drives himself. If the very rich and well looked after Royal Family of England can drive themselves around, why can't MPs. The PM deserves a driver and car, but can the Member for Timbuktu really say he's so busy, he can't drive.

asp 3:31 pm 20 Sep 07

"Prime Minister’s jet"

But it's not. The RAAF maintains an official fleet of VIP aircraft for official use. And the use of these aircraft is not cheap. A large number of the flights are just the pilots returning to Canberra too, which is a tremendous waste of fuel and money.

The other thing is around the world, most leaders stay in the capital. To have a leader who insists on escaping the capital demeans Canberra's status even more.

Finally, many past PMs have lived at The Lodge in Canberra while in office, if not all before Keating and Howard. Why should this tradition change?

Also, think about the increase and duplication of costs by having a PM who essentially has too capital cities. Advisors and staff must travel between cities. He maintains greater infrastructure in Sydney than past PMs.

Let me be blunt. If the PM spends so much time in Sydney, has the infrastructure in Sydney to do his job without having to be in Canberra and prefers Sydney, why is Canberra still the capital? If business prefers Sydney, the country's leader prefers Sydney and Sydney hosts major economic and political events while Canberra sits idle (eg. APEC), then why not make Sydney the capital?

mlm 3:07 pm 20 Sep 07

The ~$180k quoted is actually the costs specific to those flights. The cost of the fleet's existence makes that look like chump change.

shauno 2:58 pm 20 Sep 07

Those costs are a little misleading as a lot of the cost will still be there if the PM uses the planes or not. And In a country as wealthy as us who cares. At least we use modest size business jets and a little 737 instead of a 747 look at me jet.

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