Being a politician in Australia might not be the highest paid job many of our leaders could get, but it is meant to be socially very rewarding. However it seems some of our pollies are a little mixed up about who they are here to benefit. We know Bronwyn Bishop is a lost cause, but to see the other hands in the biscuit tin gradually having their greedy behaviours leaked out, we ask, is it time to cut back on sugar for our pollies?
Do politicians need to charge the attendance at party dinners to the public purse? Do they need to charge their attendance at colleague’s weddings? Do they need to catch a helicopter down the road or a charter flight across the country? Or do they need to invest in a house in Canberra in their wife’s name and charge the mortgage back as a living away allowance? It sure does make you wonder what kind of diet we’ve had people in politics on for such a large amount of time that it has become “status quo” to expect they can do such things without question doesn’t it?
Would the ATO find it amenable if I claimed such comforts on my own tax return as living away from home allowances while I rent the house at less than arm’s length from my husband? Would the ATO let me charge attendance at my industry peer’s wedding on my tax? I think not. So what is the difference, dare I ask?
I have to say what many are thinking… and that is our pollies look like they need a darned good sugar free diet for a while to reset their consumptive ways.
They point their finger at the average Australian saying we want too much, and place too many demands on our economy, but are they the shining light of repute.
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And we’re not even talking about how much they cost us in their retirement. POST retirement benefits for Australia’s federal politicians are a huge expense for our taxpayers. Even with the limiting measures set down in this year’s budget, MPs once retired get a range of travel benefits, access to staffing for the former Prime Ministers and even spouse benefits.
The poor pollies suffered cutbacks in 2014 to working entitlements, including domestic and overseas travel, chauffeured cars, office fit-outs and telecommunications but let’s face it, it has not slowed any of them down much.
Now, I take care in this not to take political sides. I see both parties, or all parties, quite frankly as complicit in this. It has gone on for decades, through both sides of politics, with everyone enjoying the lavish nature of public service.
So what can we do about it? It is quite clear that public scrutiny is not enough to reform their ways. Dear Bronwyn Bishop has shown no remorse really and plenty of other stories are leaching out.
Do you think it is time to set more reasonable expectations around travel and expenditure from the public purse?