Prominent Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon confirms she banks up close to the weekly average wage when staying in Canberra through travel entitlements–this amount on top of her yearly $200000 salary.
Rhiannon confirmed to the Daily Telegraph that she spends just $25 of her $285 travel allowance on accommodation per night in Canberra and pockets the rest. This means the senator takes home an extra $1040 on top of her $199040 salary.
When asked about pocketing an amount close to the average wage of $1191 Rhiannon told the Daily Telegraph the practice was “acceptable” because she spent the remaining money on other work-related expenses.
“Any of my travel allowance that has not been used I have spent on carrying out other parliamentary work-related duties and other expenses arising from being an MP,” she said. “A reimbursement model would be fine too.”
According to parliamentary rules, at present politicians can’t claim partial payments of the travel allowance so technically none of the politicians are breaking the rules. The high cost of the travel allowance is due to high hotel fees during sitting weeks.
Of late many politicians have been criticised for what is viewed by the public as “rorting the system” when it comes to travel-related expenses. Only last month, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop came under fire for claiming $32,000 in taxpayer-funded family travel for her long-term boyfriend while at the same time claiming she was not obliged to disclose his financial interests on the parliamentary register due to the fact he was not her spouse or de facto partner.
An exclusive report from The Australian also revealed on the weekend that opposition leader Bill Shorten was one of the biggest spenders of all political figures.
The report claimed that Shorten left a Comcar waiting in the carpark at last year’s Melbourne Cup, resulting in a $1,013 fee–all while he and his wife attended an array of parties as part of the Melbourne Cup celebrations.
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