The gravy train

The real bludgers

Time and time again, the Liberal party lectures Australians of the need for ‘smaller government’ and ‘reduced debt’. But how is it that our leaders claim to be concerned about fiscal discipline, and yet without hesitation, continue to enjoy the excessive perks of political life? Surely now, it’s time to call our politicians that enjoy extravagant entitlements for what they truly are: rorts of the worst kind.

“WA MPs Julie Bishop, Mathias Cormann charge taxpayers $6000 to attend 2015 AFL Grand Final”, perthnow, September 8 2016:

Ms Bishop and Senator Cormann were among several WA politicians who made it to the MCG for the grand final between the Eagles and Hawthorn last year.

As first reported on the Herald Sun last night, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann enjoyed corporate hospitality at the MCG but charged some of their travel and accommodation to the public purse.

Senator Cormann’s register of interest shows he was given two tickets by National Australia Bank, which included pre- and post-game hospitality.

Taxpayers also picked up the bill for his wife, Perth lawyer Hayley Ross, to fly from the west to Melbourne in business class at a return cost of $3594 courtesy of the family reunion allowance.

Senator Cormann spent four nights in Melbourne, but claimed a $438 travel allowance for only the night before the Grand Final and then again two nights later.

He flew business class from Canberra and then back to Sydney at a cost of $1373.

Ms Bishop — who quit as an Eagles board member in 2013 — spent six nights in Melbourne that week, claiming $438 travel allowance each night and taking a chauffeur-driven car on Grand Final day at a cost of $547.

Speaking on the ABC this morning, Ms Bishop defended attending the grand final.

“I was in Melbourne for a range of official visits and business over a period of about seven days,” she said.

“During that time in Victoria, I was invited to attend the grand final by the AFL.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the AFL, are partners in sports development in the Pacific and I intend to continue to be a strong supporter of the AFL in our joint endeavours to use sport as a means of developing young people in the Pacific.

“I think it is appropriate for the AFL to be able to invite elected representatives to what is, in the AFL’s eyes, the most important sporting event each year.”

A spokeswoman for Senator Cormann told the Herald Sun his use of a chauffeur-driven “ComCar” was for TV interviews and he had in fact walked to the game.

She said Senator Cormann’s wife flew to Melbourne under the family reunion travel as he was travelling to Lima and Peru for meetings the following week, meaning he was away from home and his family for three successive weeks.

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