Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been granted an entitlement to taxpayer-funded travel by his predecessor Scott Morrison – a perk that has allegedly never been granted to any other ex-leader.
The ousted PM was given the privilege in September which allows him, and wife Lucy, the “provision of resources” when required to “undertake international travel as approved by the prime minister in writing from time to time”, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
However, Turnbull, who is currently in New York on a privately funded trip, was quick to speak out, telling the newspaper he didn’t ask for the entitlement after a spokesperson claimed the 63-year-old would not claim any taxpayer expenses for the duration of his visit.
The former Liberal Party leader, who was replaced by Scott Morrison at the end of August, has already represented the Australian government twice recently at the headquarters of the United Nations, at the request of Morrison. His first appearance was at a panel on building a sustainable ocean economy, and the second was for the launch of an initiative to advance non-tobacco investments.
This specific travel entitlement has never been formally granted to any previous former leaders, however a spokesperson for Morrison said the PM was simply formalising “what has been an informal arrangement” as many have previously claimed taxpayer-funds to cover the cost of trips overseas.
Despite insisting he was stepping away from politics following the two party room leadership spills which saw him overthrown, Turnbull has made headlines regularly since he was sensationally dumped as the Aussie leader.
Earlier this week, ex-Prime Minister Paul Keating launched a scathing attack on Turnbull, following a series of comments he made during a speech in the US, in which he described Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd as “miserable ghosts”.
Speaking exclusively to Fairfax Media, former leader of the Labor Party Keating explained Turnbull did so little when it came to the republic movement when he was in power. Despite being the head of the Australian Republic Movement in the ‘90s, Keating accused Turnbull of giving in to conservatives on the matter.
“His capitulation to conservatives on the republic says all that needs to be said about Malcolm’s wider ambitions for the country,” Keating exclusively told Fairfax Media, as reported in The Age. “He attacks Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott as ghosts, yet if you needed to know what Malcolm Turnbull truly believes in, what he would die in a ditch over, you would need a microscope to help you find it.”