Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: why are taxpayers spending so much on political has-beens?

The Sydney Morning Herald: John Winston Howard

The Liberal Party began to roll-out the aging John Winston Howard OM AC last week as part of its fundraising efforts for the upcoming federal election campaign.

But make no mistake, it’s not just Liberal Party supporters who were paying for that 11,000 guest Docklands party in Melbourne and the exclusive dinner at the Pratt family mansion in Kew the following night – the Australian taxpayer is also likely to have been subbing the former prime minister as he sipped his wine and nibbled on canapés.

Since he lost his seat in the 2007 federal election Howard has milked the public purse for $1.82 million in additional entitlements over and above his very generous parliamentary pension.

That $1.82 million pays for a fully equiped modern office including phone & internet, office consumables, domestic air travel for himself and on occasion a family member and  travel in government cars, as well as subsidising the running costs of his own private vehicle1.

Given his obvious sense of entitlement which saw him bill taxpayers over $67,000 in the first half of 2015 (the latest Dept. of Finance entitlement record published) it will come as no surprise to eventually discover his trip from Sydney to Melbourne and return will not be paid by either Howard or the Liberal Party.

1.Howard is one of five former prime ministers still receiving these additional entitlements

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