News

Joe Hockey’s latest expense claim leaves taxpayers fuming

When he was treasurer Joe Hockey famously declared the age of entitlement “over”.

Now he’s the Australian ambassador to the US and documents revealed by Fairfax show just how much taxpayers money he’s spending.

So, what’s he charging Australian taxpayers?

Well, the documents show both Hockey and his predecessor Kim Beazley charged taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars for food, flowers, musicians, dry cleaning and piano tuning.

Earlier this year it was reported the Hockey and his wife Melissa Babbage used $46,000 of taxpayers money to hire a housekeeper to cook, clean, wash and iron for them.

Ad. Article continues below.

Taxpayers also bore the $8500 cost of converting a storage area in the ambassador’s mansion to a bedroom.

But the latest documents show another household cost.

That’s right, Australian taxpayers have also been covering the cost of babysitters for Hockey’s children.

In his first five months in the job (up to June this year) Hockey charged $2500 in child minding costs to taxpayers.

It turns out the expenses were listed initially as “babysitting”, but were changed and listed as “additional staff” in April.

Ad. Article continues below.

That’s despite Hockey earning an estimated $360,000 per year as ambassador while claiming a $90,000 per year pension.

So, how do Hockey’s costs stack up to his predecessor Kim Beazley?

Well, the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that entertainment costs under Beazley in 2014/15 were $86,000 compared to the last financial year of Beazley and then Hockey which was $121,000.

Among Beazley’s expenses was a $3400 bottle of Penfolds Grange, hundreds of dollars on books to give as a gifts and thousands of dollars on lunches and dinners with politicians.

That included a $420 lunch with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and a $300 light lunch with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

Ad. Article continues below.

Hockey’s expenses on the other hand reportedly don’t list specific guests.

What do you think? Is it fair for Joe Hockey to be charging babysitting costs to taxpayers?

 

Ad. More articles below.