Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday Thoughts # 100

It's a bit late in the day and I don't have any book quotes handy, (the book is in the other room), but here goes:

"Politicians could face spending scrutiny similar to Centrelink clients as the Federal Government moves to crack down on travel expenses  which cost almost $120 million for trips in 12 months."

Let's begin that again, shall we?  "Politicians could face.." There's that word. "could" 

Why "could"? 
Why not "will"?

If it were any of us common people, we would, definitely, be scrutinised, hounded even, to the point of having any allowances taken from us to repay the "debt". And if that Centrelink allowance is all you're living on, well, that's too bad. You'll get food vouchers and very little else until the debt is paid or until you can prove you didn't do what they say you did.
I don't see why politicians should be treated any differently. 

There's more: (no, not steak knives), "As an expenses scandal spreads, blah blah, the Advertiser can reveal the Prime Minister's controversial Iftar dinner during Ramadan cost taxpayers more than $30,000.
The food was prepared by a contracted Halal caterer. Food and drinks at the alcohol-free event cost $7300, other expenses included $9600 for a marquee, $1812 for staff costs and $814 for flowers.
$7300 for food and drinks without alcohol? How expensive is water, tea and coffee anyway?
What about the $1812 for staff costs? How many staff were waiting at this affair and did they receive enough pay each to cover the costs of parking their cars? 
Taxpayers also picked up the $5700 bill for airfares and accommodation costs for departmental satff to fly to Sydney for the dinner.

Tender documents reveal 100 federal agencies spent $108 million (not including GST) on domestic "business-related accommodation in 2015-16. 

Around $11 million was spent on international accommodation bookings for approximately 40,000 room nights in over 110 countries.

The Government is now seeking a private company to manage its accommodation program and provide value for money. A new software system could also be introduced to administer MP's entitlements and detect suspicious payments.
That system could work in a similar way to how Centrelink monitors welfare irregularities or rorters. 

All of this is coming to light since Health Minister Sussan Ley has been exposed for her many expensive trips to the gold Coast for "business purposes" during which she has purchased more than one high priced waterfront apartment.

At this point I think this old cartoon might be appropriate: 




18 comments:

  1. Good work. So the actual food and drinks, no alcohol cost, $7,300. Caterers would charge between $20 and $50 per head and at the higher end, include serving staff. Average that to $35 So, it was a dinner for about 200 people. No wonder a marquee was needed. Departmental staff were needed to attend and had to be flown in. C'mon, this is looking like a serious waste of our money. I expect our PM to dine well in nice places when on official business. I expect him to host lavish meals at home for important people using his household staff. I expect him to travel first class and stay at very nice hotels. But at times, things just go too far and we have read countless examples of politician's generosity towards themselves via taxpayer money. I suggest that their basic pay is not terribly high and it should be increased and then cut out all these allowances and benefits that are so open to rorting.

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  2. Andrew; there was a bit of kerfuffle about that dinner when it was first mentioned in the papers, but the $ figures hadn't been released. This sort of thing is all coming to light now that Sussan Ley has been caught out misusing funds and foreign minister Julie Bishop too. There are others of course and in due time, after investigations are made I hope they too will be exposed and asked to step down from their positions.
    A further article a couple of pages on lists the base salary of several people: backbench MPs and Senators: $199,040; PM Malcolm Turnbull:$517504; Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce:$408,032; Treasurer Scott Morrison: $372,200; leader of the House: Christopher Pyne:$348,320;cabinet ministers: $343,344; junior ministers: $313,488; parliamentary secretaries: $248,000; leader of the opposition Bill Shorten: $368,224; deputy opposition leader Tanya Plibersek: $ 313,488; opposition senate leader Penny Wong: $313,488; shadow ministers: $238,848: House of representatives speaker Tony Smith: $348,320; Senate President Stephen Parry: $348,320.
    All of these are base salary before allowances and entitlements are added.
    The newspaper lists top public servants too,ranging from $861,700 down to $678,920.
    Then there are leading Australian business chiefs, ranging from $1.8 million base with potential to earn another $4.5m per year, down to $900,000 and can earn another $500k in performance rights, $810k share rights and another $650k in share rights as a sign on bonus. The names are listed if you want them.
    Compared to these last two groups, our pollies pay isn't terribly high, although far more than my income. So I think you're right; if they raise their base pay to a point where they can manage without the allowances and then cut out the allowances and benefits, there'll be no excuse for the rorting. And maybe they'll think twice about jetting all over at the drop of a hat when they have to pay out of their pockets. Internet conferences may become more common.

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  3. Jeez, what's going on with my spacing there?

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  4. It's time Robin Hood came out of the forest and made a reappearance, I think.

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    1. Lee; *snap* I was watching two Robin hood movies just yesterday and wishing someone would do a similar thing nowadays.

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  5. River
    So many times, I feel that in the beginning, people who enter politics, really want to do the right thing and make government better but the free, good life often creeps in and the temptation for corruption becomes too great. Then it makes those of us who live within our means and pay our fair share...........it makes us feel duped and taken advantage of.

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    1. Belva; you're right, they slip into the bad habits and we, Me certainly, feel duped and taken advantage of.

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  6. We hear the same things here about politicians and spending....it all seems to go to their heads does't it?

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    1. only slightly confused; money goes to their heads as quick as power does. It's a lethal combination.

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  7. When it's not your water and the well is full you take really long showers.

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    1. That's an interesting way to put it!!

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    2. joeh and fishducky; that's the perfect description :)

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  8. Sigh. And sadly both of our major parties are dragging the lead on this. After our Bronnie's helicopter flight there was a review and recommendations. NONE of which are yet in place. Soon they tell us. Not holding my breath.
    And I may be ignorant (probably am ignorant) but what does the Melbourne Cup have to do with official 'foreign affairs business'?

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    1. Elephant's Child; the paper did mention a previous almost commitment to a review but it somehow got lost in the shuffle of different things and I can't see ANY WAY the Melbourne Cup is official foreign business.

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    2. I see Sussan Ley has resigned. Good. And her charter flights stuck in my craw too. She flew the plane - probably as part of the mandatory requirements to keep her pilots licence. Which we funded.

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    3. Elephant's Child; foreign minister Julie Bishop has also stood down after being caught out.

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  9. I think Belva's comment is true that maybe politicians started out to make a difference but become corrupted by the graft in politics. Very sad! Here in the U.S. there are daily stories with some politician that has spent or received ridiculous amounts of money unethically. It never seems to improved. Laws won't change when the same people that make the laws have a vested interest in keeping their money train moving as it currently does.

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  10. Cheryl; sad but true, things won't change while the gravy train keeps running. But in today's paper, our Prime Minister has announced an independent party will now be investigating all entitlements and the uses of them. So there's hope for change.

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