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Yes Joe, I’ve applied the sniff test, and something stinks

By Marcus Paul 21 July 2015 19

josh-parliament-house

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)

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19 Responses to
Yes Joe, I’ve applied the sniff test, and something stinks
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pink little birdie 10:14 am 22 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

GrumpyMark said :

dungfungus said :

Err, hello?
Any Labor MPs willing to make a comment?
No, and no prizes to guess why.

And your point is …? So are you suggesting that this is all a Labor plot to discredit the Speaker?

The point the OP is correctly making is that ordinary Australians are sick and tired of politicians (irrespective of their political persuasion) taking the p*ss and treating the electorate as fools.

IF (and it’s an if that must be proven) the Speaker is guilty of making a false statement about use of public monies then she has to be held to account. If no such false statement has been made, then there’s nothing to see and let’s move on.

My point is that this thread like so many others involving politics bashes the coalition (and Tony Abbott’s family) without referring to Labor’s rorts.
Remember J. Gillard flying to a staffer’s celebration at Byron Bay in a VIP jet and at least one trip interstate to watch a football match in a VIP jet?
Where was the condemation then?

People are much more ok with the Prime Minister of the day travelling by VIP jet to whereever their commitments (business or personal) takes them. As they are the PM and if stuff goes down they immediately need to be there and functioning. The Prime Minister’s job is a job where it’s their life for the entire period of Prime Ministership.

rosscoact 9:35 am 22 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

GrumpyMark said :

dungfungus said :

Err, hello?
Any Labor MPs willing to make a comment?
No, and no prizes to guess why.

And your point is …? So are you suggesting that this is all a Labor plot to discredit the Speaker?

The point the OP is correctly making is that ordinary Australians are sick and tired of politicians (irrespective of their political persuasion) taking the p*ss and treating the electorate as fools.

IF (and it’s an if that must be proven) the Speaker is guilty of making a false statement about use of public monies then she has to be held to account. If no such false statement has been made, then there’s nothing to see and let’s move on.

My point is that this thread like so many others involving politics bashes the coalition (and Tony Abbott’s family) without referring to Labor’s rorts.
Remember J. Gillard flying to a staffer’s celebration at Byron Bay in a VIP jet and at least one trip interstate to watch a football match in a VIP jet?
Where was the condemation then?

I think you’re being a bit sensitive there Dungers. Have a look at the thread, it is about politicians in general in the main and where it mentions a specific person it is a high profile instance of egregious entitlement.

Condemnation only happens when somebody is caught and in my observation it is pretty even handed.

The Libs would be rightfully kicking themselves over this. They had Labor on the ropes and because a particular pig prefers to keep its snout in the trough they have let them off the hook. There was the ideal opportunity to call an early election and now it is lost. It shows a lack of political nous and worse, tolerance and outright support of incompetence.

dungfungus 9:22 am 22 Jul 15

GrumpyMark said :

dungfungus said :

Err, hello?
Any Labor MPs willing to make a comment?
No, and no prizes to guess why.

And your point is …? So are you suggesting that this is all a Labor plot to discredit the Speaker?

The point the OP is correctly making is that ordinary Australians are sick and tired of politicians (irrespective of their political persuasion) taking the p*ss and treating the electorate as fools.

IF (and it’s an if that must be proven) the Speaker is guilty of making a false statement about use of public monies then she has to be held to account. If no such false statement has been made, then there’s nothing to see and let’s move on.

My point is that this thread like so many others involving politics bashes the coalition (and Tony Abbott’s family) without referring to Labor’s rorts.
Remember J. Gillard flying to a staffer’s celebration at Byron Bay in a VIP jet and at least one trip interstate to watch a football match in a VIP jet?
Where was the condemation then?

Masquara 10:24 pm 21 Jul 15

A thousand bucks a day for limousines – albeit on official business – in Europe is just as bad. Why don’t the people organising transport in these European cities, in the embassies, push back? they can in fact say “No, Madame Speaker, we’ll provide an embassy car and staff driver for you, and the ambassador will catch taxis if we’re short a car”.

Postalgeek 9:38 pm 21 Jul 15

Antagonist said :

These allowances are not just confined to Ministers. Many public servants access the same relocation entitlements. In a former life, I was paying more to my departmental secretary in relocation allowances (his ‘official’ residence was in Sydney) than I was receiving in salary at the time.

As for Bronnie, we can be sure she will find a way to weasel out of it. She is still a politician.

Spot on. I’ve heard rumour of at least one Director using taxpayer money to fly himself AND his wife first class to Europe. Guess he didn’t want to slum it with the business-class plebs.

This rorting goes beyond incumbent politicians and political divisions. Senior bureaucrats should also be held accountable for self-indulgent spending. I don’t begrudge business class for work travel but if a departmental head wants to fly first and/or take a spouse, then they can dip into their way-above-average pay packet to pay for it.

GrumpyMark 8:51 pm 21 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

Err, hello?
Any Labor MPs willing to make a comment?
No, and no prizes to guess why.

And your point is …? So are you suggesting that this is all a Labor plot to discredit the Speaker?

The point the OP is correctly making is that ordinary Australians are sick and tired of politicians (irrespective of their political persuasion) taking the p*ss and treating the electorate as fools.

IF (and it’s an if that must be proven) the Speaker is guilty of making a false statement about use of public monies then she has to be held to account. If no such false statement has been made, then there’s nothing to see and let’s move on.

HiddenDragon 5:35 pm 21 Jul 15

No, it doesn’t look at all good, and but for the fact that Labor has gone nuclear – or should I say nuke-u-la – on this, it might have been an opportunity, after a discreet interval had passed, for Bronny to be pointed in the direction of a suitable post-Parliamentary posting.

Instead, this is going to end up as another unedifying, puerile measuring contest with the great majority of Australians seeing it as yet another instance of the Canberra pollies fiddling while Rome burns.

rubaiyat 5:26 pm 21 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

Err, hello?
Any Labor MPs willing to make a comment?
No, and no prizes to guess why.

Blinders on and fingers in ears again?

They have and to their credit most have looked somewhat shamefaced, which is more than you can say about the Liberal “Leaners”.

dungfungus 3:18 pm 21 Jul 15

Err, hello?
Any Labor MPs willing to make a comment?
No, and no prizes to guess why.

Antagonist 2:26 pm 21 Jul 15

These allowances are not just confined to Ministers. Many public servants access the same relocation entitlements. In a former life, I was paying more to my departmental secretary in relocation allowances (his ‘official’ residence was in Sydney) than I was receiving in salary at the time.

As for Bronnie, we can be sure she will find a way to weasel out of it. She is still a politician.

Maya123 1:44 pm 21 Jul 15

vintage123 said :

chewy14 said :

I would much prefer a system where politicians are given a set amount of allowance per year depending on their level and location/size of their electorate.

They can then budget and decide how to apportion that money over the year and what events they really want to attend. Spend your allowance before the end of the year, tough, you’ll be grounded.

This would make them far more frugal and would end the ridiculous situation we now find ourselves in.

It was investigated last year to determine what a fixed rate would be, it worked out roughly at a TAX FREE allowance of $60K for living away from home $90K for travel expenses and $40k for disturbance allowance. It was considered that the additional payment of $190k TAX FREE to politicians would not go down to well with the public.

Here’s the thing, people are sceaming for transparency, however you need to be careful what you wish for, because like negative gearing of late, once the genie is out of the bottle, it tends to make people very angry that they were not told about the rorts years ago, and then when they calm down they feel really disenchantered with their own pay and conditions. This leads to anxiety and depression and we really dont need any more of that.

“$60K for living away from home $90K for travel expenses and $40k for disturbance allowance.”

How have those high figures been dreamt up? A good house of about $600 a week could be rented for half that.

“$40k for disturbance allowance”
Surely the high wages that politicians make would cover that. That’s part of being a politician. Who else gets a “disturbance allowance” on top of their wage?

chewy14 1:42 pm 21 Jul 15

vintage123 said :

chewy14 said :

I would much prefer a system where politicians are given a set amount of allowance per year depending on their level and location/size of their electorate.

They can then budget and decide how to apportion that money over the year and what events they really want to attend. Spend your allowance before the end of the year, tough, you’ll be grounded.

This would make them far more frugal and would end the ridiculous situation we now find ourselves in.

It was investigated last year to determine what a fixed rate would be, it worked out roughly at a TAX FREE allowance of $60K for living away from home $90K for travel expenses and $40k for disturbance allowance. It was considered that the additional payment of $190k TAX FREE to politicians would not go down to well with the public.

Here’s the thing, people are sceaming for transparency, however you need to be careful what you wish for, because like negative gearing of late, once the genie is out of the bottle, it tends to make people very angry that they were not told about the rorts years ago, and then when they calm down they feel really disenchantered with their own pay and conditions. This leads to anxiety and depression and we really dont need any more of that.

I would be quite comfortable with a $150-$200k tax free allowance to enable them to do their jobs correctly.

The thing that really annoys me is that every couple of months we have an event like this where someone is clearly pushing the boundaries of the rules. The media trawl through the records for a gotcha moment and then nothing changes because the general population have no context for what is actually a reasonable benefit or allowance.

vintage123 1:15 pm 21 Jul 15

chewy14 said :

I would much prefer a system where politicians are given a set amount of allowance per year depending on their level and location/size of their electorate.

They can then budget and decide how to apportion that money over the year and what events they really want to attend. Spend your allowance before the end of the year, tough, you’ll be grounded.

This would make them far more frugal and would end the ridiculous situation we now find ourselves in.

It was investigated last year to determine what a fixed rate would be, it worked out roughly at a TAX FREE allowance of $60K for living away from home $90K for travel expenses and $40k for disturbance allowance. It was considered that the additional payment of $190k TAX FREE to politicians would not go down to well with the public.

Here’s the thing, people are sceaming for transparency, however you need to be careful what you wish for, because like negative gearing of late, once the genie is out of the bottle, it tends to make people very angry that they were not told about the rorts years ago, and then when they calm down they feel really disenchantered with their own pay and conditions. This leads to anxiety and depression and we really dont need any more of that.

vintage123 1:10 pm 21 Jul 15

watto23 said :

The wastage on so called entitlements is absolutely disgraceful.
I have no issues with politicians needing accommodation and transport on official business, but it should all be transparent and lodged for an online database so the public can see it. We’ll then start to see politicians held accountable for their expenses.

I mean Joe Hockey, pays rent for the house he stays at, which is owned by his wife, so the public are paying for Joe Hockeys wife to own more property. I guess someone has to win from this, but its a bit dodgy if you ask me.

I’d say they all rort the system, except the independents and Greens (although thats based on a few Greens pointing out their latest travel was self funded and included work) seem to be against it and point out most of their travel is funded by themselves. If ever there is a reason to vote against the major parties its this one. I just wish there was another poll on election day highlighting reasons why people voted for or against someone. Then the political parties would understand the actual issues rather than the issues they like to generate and argue about.

Surley you already knew about this, this rumour has been wofting around canberra hills for years.
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/taxpayers-footing-bill-on-treasurer-joe-hockeys-15-million-canberra-house/story-fni0cx12-1227026624945

chewy14 12:52 pm 21 Jul 15

I would much prefer a system where politicians are given a set amount of allowance per year depending on their level and location/size of their electorate.

They can then budget and decide how to apportion that money over the year and what events they really want to attend. Spend your allowance before the end of the year, tough, you’ll be grounded.

This would make them far more frugal and would end the ridiculous situation we now find ourselves in.

watto23 12:24 pm 21 Jul 15

The wastage on so called entitlements is absolutely disgraceful.
I have no issues with politicians needing accommodation and transport on official business, but it should all be transparent and lodged for an online database so the public can see it. We’ll then start to see politicians held accountable for their expenses.

I mean Joe Hockey, pays rent for the house he stays at, which is owned by his wife, so the public are paying for Joe Hockeys wife to own more property. I guess someone has to win from this, but its a bit dodgy if you ask me.

I’d say they all rort the system, except the independents and Greens (although thats based on a few Greens pointing out their latest travel was self funded and included work) seem to be against it and point out most of their travel is funded by themselves. If ever there is a reason to vote against the major parties its this one. I just wish there was another poll on election day highlighting reasons why people voted for or against someone. Then the political parties would understand the actual issues rather than the issues they like to generate and argue about.

Dame Canberra 12:11 pm 21 Jul 15

I’m with Mike Baird. The state of Australia’s federal politics, even when you exclude Bronwyn’s ridiculous expense claims, is seriously dysfunctional: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/mike-baird-uses-six-words-to-shame-tony-abbott-and-co-in-the-leadership-stakes-20150720-gifzvt.html

Good piece, Marcus.

london 11:31 am 21 Jul 15

The disappointing part about all politicians over spending is that they earn enough money that this should not be necessary. Bronwin Bishop is a disgrace. Her ego tells her this is fine. How many nomeless people could have had a bed for the night on what she wasted. I object also to public coffers spent on Tony Abbott’s adult kids. Wish I could pay a $100 a week and live like that.

rubaiyat 8:13 am 21 Jul 15

On planet Le Bron there is only one question:

Are you leaning to the right or lifting that for personal use.

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