Friday, 29 August 2014

Joe 'my middle name is entitlement' Hockey and the public purse

This is the federal treasurer who in his first federal budget was determined to turn the divide between the rich and poor in Australia into a yawning chasm…..

Media reports put Joe Hockey's current parliamentary income at $365,868 - a base salary of $195,130 plus an 87.5% loading for his position of Treasurer. 

According to the Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2014/16: Members of Parliament –Travelling Allowance from 31 August 2014 Hockey will also receive $91 a night for staying in his own house in Canberra and $271 when he stays in commercial accommodation. 

If his wife happens to be staying in their house at the same time, Hockey receives an additional $10 from taxpayers.

Excerpts from article in The Daily Telegraph on 17 August 2014:

* The Hockey family’s astute purchase of the property in one of Canberra’s premier suburbs is a well-known story in political circles. The home is worth an estimated $1.5 million according to local real estate agents. But the Hockey clan picked up the property for a song, purchasing it for just $320,000 in 1997.
In his recently published biograph Not Your Average Joe, a former Liberal MP Ross Cameron boasts that Mr Hockey struck a golden deal, spotting the house when driving in Canberra.
“The house was a piece of Hockey mercantile genius,’’ Mr Cameron said.
Biographer Madonna King writes that the seller, who according to ACT lands title records was called Robert Hamilton wanted “no part in lawyers or agents.’
“So Joe, the lawyer, called his father, the real estate agent, who took the owner out for a beer,’’ Ms King writes.
“The Hockey’s scored the house for land value. Joe’s father didn’t mention he was a real estate agent, buying the property on behalf of his lawyer son.’’
When it was purchased in 1997, Mr Hockey was listed on sales documents as owning 5 per cent, his wife Melissa Babbage 61 per cent and his father Richard Hockey 34 per cent….
The double dipping of MPs who claim travel allowance to stay in properties owned by themselves or their wives and in some cases reduce their tax by negatively gearing property is well-known in Canberra. In 2007, it was revealed Malcolm Turnbull, then regarded as Australia’s richest MP, rented a house from his wife Lucy when in Canberra. It was reported Mr Turnbull paid $10,000 a year to his wife under the arrangement and claimed another $10 a night when she stayed in Canberra. In response, Mr Turnbull said the story was a “beat up.”

*The Treasurer has legitimately claimed $108,000 in travel allowance for 368 nights over the last four years including many nights for parliamentary sitting weeks where he has stayed at the Canberra house.

The Daily Mail 14 August 2014:

Mr Hockey and his millionaire banker wife Melissa Babbage, own four properties between them, including a five-bedroom harbourside family home in Hunters Hill, one of Sydney's wealthiest harbourside suburbs, believed to be worth more than $5 million, which they bought for $3.5 million in 2004.
Their $10 million property portfolio also includes a 200 hectare cattle farm in Queensland and a beautiful six-bedroom coastal retreat with 180-degree views of the beach in Stanwell Park, an hour south of Sydney. Mr Hockey's statement of registrable interests, made in 2010, also lists him as joint owner of a property in the prestigious Canberra suburb of Forrest.

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