The Age of Entitlement is over, or To Err is Human, To Repay Ok.

Posted: October 7, 2013 in Politics, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Well, of course it’s getting a good run in the press. They have nothing else to write about. Ok, they could write about the “deal” that is being worked out between Australia and Indonesia, but the details are secret. Ministers don’t seem to be saying much, and we only get the “Shipping News” once a week. There’s only so much you can write about a meeting of leaders in Bali. There was a story that Abbott hopes to have a trade deal with China within twelve months, but again we’re still working out the details and there’s only so many ways of re-writing a sentence involving Trade Deal, China, Twelve Months and Abbott.

So that pretty much only leaves stories about travel allowances. The Liberal line seems to be that they’re being repaid, so what’s the problem? They’re “small change”, not significant amounts. And, in the future, if a claim is in the ambiguous column, they’ll be “erring on the side of caution”.

One could ask why they didn’t do that in the past, but that would be petty. Like the thousand of dollars involved.

One could go to “Labor’s Book of Waste” and look at the 60 examples of Labor waste which include such major items as the $660 of extra Carbon Tax at the Lodge (seriously, No. 20), or the ATO hiring a consultant on the mining tax for $30,000. Then one could ask, why waste all that time on a booklet over such “small change”?

See more of these outrageous examples of money being wasted at

http://lpa.webcontent.s3.amazonaws.com/Web%20assets/The%20Little%20Book%20of%20Big%20Labor%20Waste.pdf

But it’s Peter Reith’s comments that get to the heart of the matter:

“As a minister, you are 24/7 a minister. This is all part of being a politician. If you get an invitation to go to a private occasion, then the judgment you make as a minister is, is this worth it from a political point of view?”

Of course, I could be pedantic and point out the India 3 were NOT ministers at the time of the trip – they were in Oppostion, but that’s not the main issue.

“This is all part of being a politician” and “from a political point of view” seem to sum it up. As does, “If a shock jock invites you to a wedding,” we’re told, “you’d be a fool not to go.”

Why? How much influence does a “shock jock” have over the way you discharge your Ministerial duties? In what way is this connected to the business of government. 

Yes, as an MP, you’ll be spending a certain amount of time trying to ensure that you’re re-elected, but surely that’s not part of your role as an MP, any more than it would be if I chose to stand at the next election. “I haven’t been elected yet, but attending Bazza’s wedding is part of me networking and trying to ensure that I have enough votes to win,” I say, when trying to claim a travel expense. Travel expenses, of course, only applies to an MP in the course of the role as a Member of Parliament or as a Minister. Is being re-elected part of that role, or should that come from party funds?

I will agree that during an election campaign some things can be more ambiguous. And that when Christopher Pyne goes to a local event, he may be BOTH performing his role as a local member AND trying to ensure his re-election. (Although in his case, staying away may be better for the latter.)

But the idea that going to the wedding of someone who may has some influence and could help you in your quest for power is related to your role as a member of the Government doesn’t seem at all “ambiguous” to me.  

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Comments
  1. Erwin says:

    using the politicians logic, plumber X will be able to make all sorts of claims on his next tax return, such as attending weddings, on the basis that he discussed plumbing

  2. Richard Leggatt says:

    If I ever wish to get lost, I’ll be sure to use Peter Reiths” moral compass!

  3. slapsy says:

    Considering that TA has been granted his wish by the vote fairies do you think that he will want the case against Slipper continued.Maybe Slipper can use the accumulating evidence against Abbott and Co. as justification for a stay of execution.

  4. Gilly says:

    So there is a need for better policing of claims, and interpretation of expenses allowances. Tied into this is the question of parliamentary wages. Indeed the salaries paid do not properly reflect the responsibilities of the positions within Parliament. However the only measure of performance are elections, which in effect are a circus of lies, spin, claim and counterclaim and continuing denials of responsibility, “It was them not us”.
    What other avenues are there for measurement of parliamentary performance which could identify those underperformers who are loafing on the back of party allegiances. It would be politically difficult and administratively onerous but some form KPI’s are probably in order.

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