Dear Prime Minister,
We are very happy that the Government is going to explicitly clarify about travelling expenses.
It is long overdue that a Federal ICAC be established.
We fully agree with Senator Andrew Wilkie that rorters should face charges.
Unity Party WA
Save the trees – Please use email
UPWA is the only political Party that calls a spade a spade.
Government to clarify rules on MP travel claims
Andrew TillettCanberra – Wednesday, January 11, 2017 12:50AM
Rules on what Federal politicians can and cannot claim in travel costs will be made more explicit in a bid to prevent a repeat of expenses scandals like that engulfing sidelined Health Minister Sussan Ley.
The Federal Government yesterday promised to overhaul pollies’ perks in the first half of this year, with one minister admitting action was needed to rebuild taxpayers’ trust that money was spent wisely.
However it is unlikely the changes will stop MPs watching prestigious sporting events such as the AFL grand final at taxpayers’ expense, where sponsors often invite them to attend in their official capacity.
Questions over MPs’ expenses are spreading to other frontbenchers, with Julie Bishop forced to defend claiming $2700 to attend the Portsea Polo in Victoria last January.
Her office told the ABC she attended the event in her official capacity as deputy Liberal leader and Foreign Minister.
And Cabinet ministers George Brandis, Mitch Fifield and Peter Dutton charged taxpayers almost $7000 to attend Malcolm Turnbull’s New Year’s Eve function at Kirribilli House in 2015.
They argued the harbourside soiree was an official function, even though 19 fellow frontbenchers did not claim expenses.
Questions over MPs’ expenses are spreading to other frontbenchers, with revelations Cabinet ministers George Brandis, Mitch Fifield and Peter Dutton charged taxpayers almost $7000 to attend Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s New Year’s Eve function at Kirribilli House in 2015.
They argued the Sydney harbourside soiree was an official function, even though 19 frontbench colleagues did not claim expenses.
Ms Ley’s woes continued with allegations she and her partner had been house hunting during a trip to the Gold Coast nine months before her now ill-fated May 2015 purchase of a $795,000 apartment that has led to be stood down and investigated by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. She is not commenting on the latest claim.
An independent review of MPs’ entitlements was handed to the Government in March, with legislation now being drafted to consolidate myriad Acts and Remuneration Tribunal determinations outlining MPs’ pay and entitlements.
A key recommendation of the report, which was commissioned after the “choppergate” scandal involving former speaker Bronwyn Bishop, was that expenses could be claimed only when the dominant purpose was for a new definition of “parliamentary business”.
This definition would cover electorate duties; parliamentary duties, such as travelling for sittings or committee service; official duties such as attending functions, events and meetings when invited in their capacity as a MP or officeholder; and party political duties, such as attending conferences.
Attending political fundraisers or pursuing activities that provide a personal or commercial benefit would be specifically excluded from the definition of parliamentary business.
Acting Special Minister of State Kelly O’Dwyer said the Government accepted in principle all 36 recommendations of the review.
“A clear definition of what official business is, is obviously at the centre of the changes that need to be made and will be made by the Government in order to give the Australian people confidence that their hard-earned taxpayer dollars are respected and that they can have confidence … in the system,” she said.
Labor said it would work with the coalition on entitlements reformbut criticised the Government for taking too long to act.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said rorters should face charges.
“It is no secret in Canberra that some MPs will, from time to time, perhaps often, travel wherever they want in the country and they will dress it up as an official trip,” he said.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and the Greens will try to re-introduce l