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Friday 7 August 2015

Footnotes - on MP expense rorts

  • The term 'Entitlements' as Malcolm Turnbull and others have noted, is a complete misnomer that seems to have set the manner in which MPs feel entitled to drain the public purse. Drop the name 'Entitlements', call it what it is 'Expenses'.
  • It may be acceptable for longer trips for MPs but business class travel for the children of MPs is definitely out of kilter with community expectations 
  • Occasional trips by family to Canberra to spend time with their MP seems legitimate, but trips by MPs family around Australia are also out of kilter with expectations
  • The community will accept greater leniency for travel expenses given MPs workload and role in our community but MPs have shown they cannot be trusted when rules are so 'open-ended'
  • Enterprises often provide executives with an expense allowance. Why not do the same for MPs. Within some defined limits the MP can decide where to use the allowance but never above the limit. The allowance should cover ALL claims by MPs for re-imbursement, ie study tours. The allowance should vary by status back-bencher, minister, etc., and be generous but not unreasonable. I suggest something in the order of 10-15% of their salary may be a guide.
  • Contrary to many voices in the media I believe expenses related to party fundraisers should NOT be eligible for claims. The parties can pay these expenses themselves, if they want their MPs to attend.
  • Despite some specious arguments to the contrary, it is not difficult to differentiate between a fund-raiser and a public meeting. It is ALWAYS a fund raiser if the money collected goes to a political party.
  • We should not have to wait for 6 months to get this sorted out. It seems like a delaying tactic, hoping the controversy will die down. An interim report and actions should be available before the end of the year.
  • Having experienced the venom from the electorate the pollies and some 'friends' are now trying to put the issue 'back in the box'. Watch for specious arguments about the difficult working hours, the disruption to family life and all the other hardships our poor MPs suffer. Before you accept any of this gumph, apply Joe Hockey's 'smell' test. How does the MPs role compare to other workers in our society; ambulance drivers, nurses, defence forces, and what benefits do they enjoy?

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