The question circulating among many political junkies at the moment is simple: How long can the Speaker survive?
The headlines don’t look good, with calls to permanently ground the high-flying Bronwyn Bishop. There’s the ‘turbulence’ of that $5000 helicopter flight, plus further revelations of additional chopper trips, thousand-dollar-a-day limo rides and an additional $80,000 expense claim.
I very much doubt the Liberal veteran is alone here. I’d hate think how much of the public purse is spent within the confines of the rules. These same rules, mind you, allow MPs and government ministers to claim quite comfortable living away from home allowances, among other benefits.
What makes this less palatable is the government’s call for austerity, amid the shrieks of budget emergency. Reports out this week clearly highlight how much more difficult it will be for the government to force financial cuts on others when one of its own members can’t be bothered heeding its own austerity priorities.
Furthermore, it will now look even sillier for the Abbott government to call for a stop on so called job “shirkers” and those it claims are rorting welfare. With one of its own spending excessively, this would look quite hypocritical.
We need a total and independent look at the expenses system. We need to review the ins and outs of what our members of parliament and bureaucrats claim. Let’s take this whole “sniff test” our Federal Treasurer keeps talking about for a ride. Yes Joe, I myself have applied it, and something stinks.
Marcus Paul is the host of Canberra Live 3pm weekdays on 2CC.
(Photo credit: Josh Mulrine)