There are many things that members of parliament are eligible to charge to the public purse, such as travel, accommodation and meal allowance, however one Liberal MP has caused outrage after it was revealed that he was claiming as much as $2,800 per month to cover the cost of his home Internet connection.
As proven by parliamentary expenses data available online, Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert charged taxpayers $1,686.36 in March, $2,704.55 in April and $2,831.82 in May to pay for the data connection to his Gold Coast home, with the Sydney Morning Herald claiming the figures are 20 times more than those charged by other MPs.
The member for Fadden, 43, blamed “connectivity issues” in his locality for the extortionate sums, an average of $1,845 over the past six months, which he claimed as part of his $32,000 annual electorate allowance.
“As ADSL, ISDN and the NBN were all unavailable at the time of installation, a home wireless service was facilitated,” he exclusively told the Sydney Morning Herald. “This was the most stable, viable service available prior to NBN being installed.
“NBN was recently rolled out in the local area, enabling the provision of future services at significantly lower cost.”
After reports began to emerge online about the excessive costs on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison then confirmed that he had ordered an investigation into the charges, as he answered questions during a press conference in Tasmania.
Starts at 60 has contacted Robert’s office for a right of reply.
Members of the public were outraged over the amount charged by Robert, with one writing on Twitter: “Get hold of his hourly usage over last year and match it against when he was not at home. Should be interesting.”
Another said: “@ScottMorrisonMP be a dear and explain to our Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert that most ISPs offer unlimited downloads for under $100 a month? And while you’re at it – the difference between debt and deficit. Thanks ever so.”
Robert incorrectly stated that Australia’s net debt had reached a decade low of $10.1 billion, however the figure is actually the final deficit outcome for the last financial year, with the nation’s net debt outcome actually standing at $342 billion.