The amount of taxpayer cash spent by members of Parliament over the past year has been revealed, laying bare everything from travel costs to the expenditure related to running their offices, such as broadband charges and staffing costs.
One such figure revealed in fresh data published on Tuesday by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, is the amount of taxpayer dollars used to fund the travel of politicians families across Australia, as per their entitlement, last year.
Data seen by Starts at 60 revealed that far-right Senator Fraser Anning spent more cash than any other MP in 2018 when it came to flying members of his family around the country.
The Queensland politician, who has come under fire in recent days due to comments he made in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, racked up a bill of $34,672.42 for family travel expenses between January and December last year.
In comparison, prime minister Scott Morrison spent just $2534.78 on family travel, however opposition leader Bill Shorten claimed a total of $29,820.28 in family travel expenses.
Only two other members of Parliament came close to Anning’s bill for family travel costs, as Senator Mathias Cormann charged a total of $32,268 to the public purse for transportation for his family.
Fellow Western Australian pollie Melissa Price also surpassed the sum of $30,000 for family travel charges, billing a sum of $31,417.22.
All MPs are allowed to bring family members on trips to Canberra or around their electorate at taxpayers’ expense, within a cost limit. They are also entitled to three interstate family reunion trips each year.
Anning also racked up the highest bill for staff travel of any MP who does not hold a ministerial or shadow ministerial role, with an annual total of $247,128. Overall, Senator Anning’s entitlement claims came to $556,472 in 2018, compared to $533,064 for Pauline Hanson and $536,804 for Derryn Hinch.
The prime minister’s total for the same expense came to $1,774,579.33 for 2018. It was actually Labor leader Shorten who racked up the heftiest bill, which came to a whopping $3,182,385 overall, including a sum of $2,254,568.54 for the travel of between 36 and 40 members of staff.