Showing posts with label Age of Entitlement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Age of Entitlement. Show all posts

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert follows unofficial Liberal Party guideline: Don't get caught but if you do pay it back


Image: The Sydney Morning Herald 2017
Assistant Treasurer and Liberal MP for Fadden Stuart Rowland Robert (right) is in the news once more.

This time over the excessive costs associated with his taxpayer-funded 4G home Internet connection.

He has been charging taxpayers more than a $1,000 a month for Internet access since 2016 and by 2018 the cost had risen to over $2,000 a month.


The reasons being given by Robert for why he didn’t avail himself of cheaper alternatives don’t really stand close scrutiny.

Given this Liberal MP’s history (see below) one immediately wonders if a third party individual/ corporation signed his contact with the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and this increased the cost to taxpayers or whether Robert has a pecuniary interest in that particular ISP.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has requested that these expense claims be investigated by Special Minister for State Alex Hawke who himself is under a cloud when it comes to parliamentary expense claims.

Once his parliamentary expenses drew media attention Robert was quick to commit to paying back Internet charges reimbursed by the Dept. of Finance. At a quick estimate that would be somewhere in the vicinity of $25,000, although reportedly he puts the estimate as a little over $20,000.

Parliamentary expense claims are not the only issue for the Member for Fadden.

On 6 October 2018 The West Australian reported that:
A company run by a Federal minister who charged taxpayers $2000 a month for internet access lodged documents removing him as its director only after the matter was queried by The Weekend West.

Until late yesterday ASIC records showed Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert was a director of an alternative health franchise business, despite Mr Robert telling Parliament a month ago he quit the board of Cryo Australia when he returned to the ministry.

In February 2016 Stuart Robert was sent to the backbench in disgrace after just three years as a federal government minister. 

It is barely six weeks since he returned to the ministry on the back of Scott Morrison’s politically bloody ascendancy and it appears that there has been no lesson learned.

A Brief History







Tuesday, 11 September 2018

New Holland Publishers picked a lemon in the MP for New England Barnaby Joyce


The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 September 2018:

Back in the day, estimates of book sales were just that – estimates. These days, courtesy of the Bookscan system, which measures sales from nearly every book store across our brown and pleasant land, you can be very accurate – at least if you have a 'Deepthroat' high up in the publishing world like I do. I can report thus, that after being on sale for four weeks, Barnaby Joyce’s memoir, Weatherboard and Iron, has sold 1570 copies.

Yes, notwithstanding the general publishing rule that – with the notable exception of John Howard’s Lazarus Rising – right-wing memoirs don’t sell well, those numbers are proof positive that whatever hunger there has been for details of Joyce’s personal life has been sated. 

Having gone from being priced at source for $32.99 a copy, it had been reduced to $24.99 by QBD books after only 3 days.

It should be in the $10 bin at local book stores by the beginning of October 2018.

So much for a story of Politics, the bush and me being an additional income source for the egotistical, greedy and 'entitled' Nationals Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Peter Dutton and the French au pair


On 17 June 2015 then Australian Minister for Immigration and Border Protection & Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton overturned a departmental decision to classify the holder of an e-Visa as “an unlawful non-citizen” - allowing Alexandra Deuwel entry into Australia and supplying her with a tourist visa despite her declaration that she intended to work during her stay.
Linkedin entry retrieved 28 August 2018. It has since been removed from public view



The Australian Government has unsuccessfully attempted to hide details of the minister’s decision.

The Guardian, 3 August 2018:
The Australian government spent more than $10,000 in taxpayer cash fighting a legal battle to keep documents secret about the home affairs minister Peter Dutton’s decision to save two foreign au pairs from deportation.

The visa status of the two unknown young women has been in the spotlight since March, when it was revealed that Dutton used his powers of ministerial discretion to grant them visas on public interest grounds.

In the first case, an au pair whose visa was cancelled at Brisbane’s international airport in June 2015 was able to make a phone call and within a couple of hours the minister approved a new visa.

In November the same year, Dutton defied written warnings from his own department that granting a visa to a second au pair was of “high risk” because she had been previously counselled about work restrictions.

Dutton insists he doesn’t know the two individuals involved and that they didn’t work for his family.

The Guardian, 28 August 2018:

The home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, saved an au pair from deportation, intervening after the AFL’s chief executive officer, Gillon McLachlan, raised the young woman’s case.

Guardian Australia understands that a French woman named Alexandra Deuwel was detained at Adelaide’s international airport late on 31 October 2015.

Her tourist visa was cancelled at the border because there were suspicions she intended to work and she had previously been counselled over visa conditions during an earlier stay in Australia.

Deuwel had previously worked for McLachlan’s relatives Callum and Skye MacLachlan in South Australia and was returning to visit them. Callum MacLachlan is joint managing director of the cattle and sheep company Jumbuck Pastoral.

An AFL official, who works for Gillon McLachlan, is understood to have contacted Dutton’s chief of staff, Craig Maclachlan, on behalf of Callum regarding the former au pair’s situation. Although related to Gillon McLachlan, Callum’s side of the family spells its name differently. Craig Maclachlan is not related to either Callum or Gillon.
On the eve of a ministerial visit to Zaatari, a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, Dutton was alerted to the case, by Craig Maclachlan. He used his discretion powers under the Migration Act to grant the young woman a tourist visa on public interest grounds within 24 hours of her arrival. The visa was granted on the condition she undertake no paid work.

In freedom of information documents released on Tuesday to the ABC, Dutton gives his reason for Deuwel’s visa allowance.

“Having regard to this person’s particular circumstances and personal characteristics, I have decided to exercise my discretionary powers under section 195A of the (migration) act as it would be in the public interest to grant this person a visa.

“In the circumstances, I have decided, that as a discretionary and humanitarian act to an individual, with ongoing needs it is in the interests of Australia as a humane and generous society to grant this person a visitor visa (subclass 600) for a period of three months.”….

A former department official said what horrified frontline airport personnel most about the au pair cases was that their decisions were being “overruled so quickly and at such a senior level for such a trivial matter”….

On 28 August 2018 this article was amended. A previous version said it was not known whether Craig Maclachlan was related to relatives of Gillon McLachlan. Peter Dutton’s office has since said they are not related.

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton issued a somewhat choleric response to media reports on 28 August 2018:


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Don't laugh, this Nationals MP was serious


David Arthur Gillespie of Wauchope entered the Australian Parliament in 2013 as a National Party Member of the House of Representatives representing the Lyne electorate, with an annual salary many of his constituents can only dream about.

He is quite literally a man of property – aside from his house and farm he owns four commercial and residential investment properties, which appear to be snugly sitting in one or more family trusts along with a portfolio of shares.

His total parliamentary entitlements expenditure paid by the Department of Finance was $65,512.97 in 2013,  $399,946.31 in 2014, $339,797.06 in 2015 and $381,651 in 2016.

Yet two years ago he caught the greed bug and wanted more, more, more………..

ABC News, 2 December 2017:

The Prime Minister's Department has lost a two-year fight to conceal a minister's bid for thousands of dollars in extra pollie-perks, including charter flights and boat rides.

Former speaker Bronwyn Bishop's taxpayer-funded helicopter ride sparked an inquiry into politicians' entitlements.

Most MPs and senators' submissions were publicly released, but bureaucrats decided to hide Nationals MP David Gillespie's proposal.

After a lengthy freedom of information (FOI) battle, the ABC can reveal Dr Gillespie argued politicians in seats like his should annually be given:

* Nearly $15,000 extra "charter allowance" for charter flights, hire cars, boat rides or taxis
* 14 days more travel allowance for overnight stays within the electorate
* An additional office
* One more full-time employee

Dr Gillespie is the member for Lyne on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

He argued the boost would help meet "the significant logistical challenges that confront all rural MPs in meeting the needs and expectations of their constituents".

"If the additional costs are $10 million, it is a small price to pay to ensure fairness within our democracy is delivered," he wrote in the October 2015 submission.

Dr Gillespie wanted extra expenses for all electorates 10,000 square kilometres or larger.

The Assistant Health Minister's seat is about 16,000 square kilometres in size, and includes towns of Taree and Wauchope.

If implemented today, 24 Coalition MPs would benefit, along with six Labor members and two independents.

Electorates 100,000 square kilometres or larger would have received an even bigger windfall under the blueprint.

But the Government has only partly adopted one of his ideas by funding an extra office in Australia's seven biggest electorates — a group of seats that does not include Lyne.

I’m sure David Gillespie is as pleased with mainstream media outing this attempted cash grab as he was when they reported this……

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 October 2017:

A Turnbull government minister is facing up to $500,000 in personal legal bills to defend his job against a Labor High Court challenge.

While the government is covering the costs of the seven federal politicians referred to the court over their citizenship status, the eighth MP facing constitutional eligibility questions is not getting the same assistance.

Labor is challenging Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie's right to stay on in Federal Parliament, putting the government's slender majority at risk, because it believes he may have an indirect financial interest in the Commonwealth – grounds for disqualification under section 44(v) of the constitution.

As revealed by Fairfax Media in February, the Nationals MP owns a small suburban shopping complex in Port Macquarie and one of the shops is an outlet of Australia Post – a government-owned corporation.

The Lighthouse Beach Australia Post outlet in Port Macquarie owned by Nationals MP David Gillespie. 
Photo: Peter Daniels

Alley v Gillespie [2017] HCA is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday,12 December 2017 by High Court of Australia.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

The problem of dual citizenship for Australian federal politicians is not a new one so why has this current batch made such a hash of the solution?


Australian Electoral Commission nomination form advice re Sec 44 of the Australian Constitution

This is former Liberal MP Alex Somlyay - elected 1990 and retired 2013 - as reported in the Sunshine Coast Daily on 19 July 2017:

Alex Somlyay, who represented Fairfax for 23 years from 1990 to 2013, is the son of Hungarian refugees who arrived in Australia after World War Two as stateless persons.
Mr Somlyay says Ms Waters' predicament in an unintended consequence that needed to be fixed…..
Mr Somlyay is particularly attuned to Mr Waters' forced resignation because of events that played out which could have threatened his own parliamentary career.
His parents became Australian citizens and Mr Somlyay was born in Australia.
But the fall of the Iron Curtin saw Hungary again become an independent country which immediately gave citizenship to the diaspora that fled as refugees and their children.
"I was already in Parliament,” he said. "I went to see the Hungarian ambassador and wrote a letter relinquishing any Hungarian rights.”

With the holding of dual citizenship being a specific bar to nominating as a candidate at a federal general election or by-election the answer for such dual citizens has always been straightforward even in complex situations.

Before nominating check your citizenship status and if by virtue of having a parent, grandparent or great-grandparent who was born overseas you find you either hold foreign citizenship by descent or may be entitled to such citizenship then take the appropriate steps to formally renounce this citizenship.

Even in the late 1800s Australia was a multicultural society with people holding foreign citizenship permanently migrating here from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania.

The framers of the Australian Constitution were well aware of this fact and set out one simple rule disqualifying any person who is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power from sitting as a representative of the people in the federal parliament. 

The only exception when the Consitution was enacted was for persons born in the United Kingdom (or in certain cases its colonies) as it was not then considered a foreign power.

The right to nominate as a candidate in an election is now reserved for persons of good character who hold only Australian citizenship - whether by birth, descent or naturalisation - and hold no office of profit under the Crown.

The High Court of Australia so ruled in Sykes v Cleary in 1992, in Free v Kelly & Australian Electoral Commission in 1996 and again in Re Canavan; Re Ludlam; Re Waters; Re Roberts [No 2]; Re Joyce; Re Nash;Re Xenophon in October 2017

Only an overweening sense of self-importance and an unswerving belief in their own entitlement can explain why in 2017 there are so many politicians with questions against their names when it comes to a right to be sitting in the Australian Parliament.

And only a steely determination not to be fully held to account sees the Turnbull Government suggesting that a declaration to the Australian Parliament by already elected politicians somehow trumps any false or misleading written declaration they may have made as part of their nomination as candidates.


RECOMMENDED READING
                
8 November 2017, YaThink? Let’s stop pretending. We want this Government to burn at the stake!

STATE OF PLAY

Growing list of federal parliamentarians found to be ineligle to stand:

1. Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlum – first elected 2007, resigned from parliament admitting dual citizenship 14.7.2017, High Court ruled ineligible due to dual citizenship 27.10.17
2. Greens Senator for Queensland Larissa Joy Waters – first elected 2010, resigned from parliament admitting dual citizenship 18.7.17, High Court ruled ineligible due to dual citizenship 27.10.17

3. Liberal MP for New England Barnaby Thomas Gerard Joyce – first elected 2004, refused to resign from parliament, High Court ruled ineligible due to dual citizenship 27.10.27

4. Liberal Senator for NSW Fiona Joy Nash – first elected 2004, refused to resign from parliament, High Court ruled ineligible due to dual citizenship 27.10.27

5. One Nation Senator Malcolm Ieuen Roberts – first elected 2016, refused to resign from parliament, High Court ruled ineligible due to dual citizenship 27.10.17

6. Liberal Senator for Tasmania Stephen Shane Parry – first elected 2004, resigned from parliament admitting dual citizenship on or about 2.11.17

7. Liberal MP for Bennelong John Gilbert Alexander – first elected 2010, resigned from parliament (refused to publicly confirm dual citizenship) on or about 11.11.2017

8. Jacqui Lambie Network Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie – first elected 2013, resigned from parliament admitting dual citizenship 14.11.17

9. Liberal senator-elect Hollie Hughes found to be eligibility by the High Court on 15 November 2017 due to the fact that she holda an office of profit under the Crown

Friday, 8 September 2017

Australian Politics 2017: Greed Unlimited #2


Former Liberal MP for Dunkley Bruce Fredrick Billson is to be investigated.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 September 2017:

Bruce Billson in Parliament. Photo: Andrew Meares

Former government minister Bruce Billson will be examined by a bipartisan committee to determine whether he acted in contempt of Parliament by taking undeclared payments from a business lobby group.

Mr Billson, who retired from Parliament at the July 2016 election after being dumped from the ministry when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took over as leader, announced in March last year he was taking up a position with the Franchise Council of Australia. However, the income from this new position was not declared on his parliamentary register. 

Since the failure to register the separate income was revealed, Liberal MPs have expressed surprise that the former small business minister began receiving his $75,000 salary from the industry group while serving as an MP and he has faced calls to donate the amount in question to charity.

Manager of opposition business Tony Burke, who sought the inquiry, said the committee would investigate if the dual employment raised "any issues that may constitute a contempt of the House or to any issues concerning the appropriate conduct of a member" regarding his responsibilities to voters.

MPs who fail to properly complete their register can be declared in contempt of Parliament, risking a fine of up to $5000 or imprisonment for up to six months. 

Speaker Tony Smith said the House of Representatives still had jurisdiction over former MPs for their actions while in office, as in the case of disgraced Labor politician Craig Thomson who was formally reprimanded in 2015 after leaving Parliament in 2013.

Permitting the referral, Mr Smith noted two possibly relevant matters of contempt in Parliament's procedural handbook: "corruption in the execution of a member's office" and "lobbying for reward or consideration"

On 7 March Billson informed the Registrar of Members’ Interests that he was now the director and a shareholder in a new private company, added a private vehicle to his list of assets, outlined hospitality received as an MP and ended what was the last registry update of his political career with the memorable line:
By 23 March 2016 while still MP for Dunkley Bruce Billson was announcing to the world (but not to the Registrar) that he was now Executive Chairman of the Franchise Council of Australiaa paid position which commenced on 9 March.

Billson retired from parliament at the July 2016 federal election still not having declared this chairmanship or the $75,000 annual salary that went with it to the Registrar of Members’ Interests.

Seventeen months later he is calling this glaring omission “an administrative failing on my behalf”.

Not the words I would use to describe his actions.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Australian Politics 2017: Greed Unlimited


A wealthy former merchant banker and Australian prime minister conservatively worth an estimated $200 million, whose annual parliamentary salary package is worth more than that of an American president, is caught with his greedy hand in the nation’s till……

Daily Telegraph, 1 September 2017:

PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been forced to pay back part of his travel expenses nine months after pocketing more than $1000 in allowances when he visited remote indigenous communities in South Australia.

Mr Turnbull will pay for the costs after The Daily Telegraph made inquiries about why the travel allowance had been claimed for accommodation that was provided free.

Finance Department expenditure reports show Mr Turnbull claimed $1130 in accommodation costs for two nights when visiting Umuwa and Scotdesco, in far northern South Australia in October 30 and October 31 last year.

But this newspaper can reveal the Umuwa accommodation was paid for by the South Australian government, not by Mr Turnbull. And the accommodation in Scotdesco costs just $60 per person.

When contacted on Monday, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet declined to comment, instead sending a request for an invoice to the South Australian government, despite the trip taking place nine months ago.

A spokesman for the SA State Development Department confirmed Mr Turnbull had “stayed in accommodation owned by the state government of South Australia at Umuwa on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands”.

Caught out Prime Minister Turnbull hurried to cover his cash grab.

“Following a request from Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet an invoice is being issued for the cost of the accommodation,” he said.

“The request for invoice was on Tuesday 29 August, 2017.”

It is understood that despite the claim of $565 for each night, the cost for accommodating four people in Umuwa, including Mr Turnbull, was $360.

This voter is not impressed by such petty personal greed, Malcolm Bligh Turnbull.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Members of Australian Parliament receive third pay rise in four years raising base salary to $203,020 per annum


The 226 members of the House of Representatives and Senate will receive a base salary which is almost six times higher than the June 2017 full-time minimum wage – commencing on 1 July 2017.

Excerpts from Remuneration Tribunal 2017 Review of Remuneration for Holders of Public Office Statement, 22 June 2017:

The Tribunal has decided to increase remuneration by 2 per cent for public offices in its jurisdiction, with effect from 1 July 2017…….


In conducting its annual review of remuneration, the Tribunal takes account of economic conditions in Australia, past and projected movements in remuneration in the private and public sectors (including the APS), as well as the outcomes of reviews of public offices completed by the Tribunal. In order to inform its conclusions the Tribunal draws upon authoritative external sources such as the published material available from the Government, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as well as trends in public and private sector remuneration. It is obliged by its legislation also to consider the Annual Wage Reviews of the Fair Work Commission.

Adjustments arising from the Tribunal’s annual review generally apply to the broad spectrum of offices in the Tribunal’s determinative jurisdiction including the most senior offices in the public service and statutory agencies, certain government-owned businesses, Secretaries, numerous part-time offices and the federal judiciary, as well as parliamentarians. Ordinary annual adjustments in remuneration of this kind recognise the achievement of ongoing objectives and the steady evolution in responsibility that is characteristic of public administration.

The Tribunal considers it important that remuneration for offices in its jurisdiction be maintained at appropriate levels over the longer term to attract and retain people of the calibre required for these important high level offices. The Tribunal is conservative in its approach to annual increases and in this case is conscious of the Government’s policy of wage restraint for the APS and non- APS government agencies. Ideally, the Tribunal is concerned to avoid, in the future, any need for significant one-off increases to restore proper relativities and to recognise fully ongoing changes in work requirements…..

The Tribunal sets remuneration for a range of offices that sit at the forefront of the private/public sector ‘divide’. Heads of agencies, members of boards and technical/professional specialists often straddle roles between both sectors. Many of these office holders do not expect or require that monetary compensation be set at private sector levels.

Rather in the true sense of the phrase ‘public service’, office holders serve for the public good. This means that in setting remuneration the Tribunal has traditionally set rates below those of the private sector.

Nonetheless over the past year there has been a notable increase in submissions to the Tribunal seeking higher remuneration for offices and individual office holders based at least in part on private sector remuneration.

As well as achieving an appropriate balance in the assessment of both private and public sector wage movements, the Tribunal must make its assessment of wages and other economic considerations based not just on past experience but also on predictions of future movements. The Tribunal is also conscious of the Government’s policy of wage restraint applying to APS and non-APS agencies. Ultimately the Tribunal has decided to set its general increase at 2 per cent…..

This wage increase translates into the following figures.

The Australian, 22 June 2017:

The rise will push ordinary members of parliament up by just under $4000 to $203,020 per annum.
The Prime Minister will get a $10,350 pay rise from $517,504 a year to $527,854
Cabinet ministers, currently paid a base salary of $343,344, will get nearly $7000 extra and will now be paid $350,210 a year.
Shadow ministers, on $248,800 per year, will get bumped up to $253,776 a year.

MPs and senators had already been granted additional taxpayer-funded support staff six months ago.

The Australian, 20 December 2016:

Taxpayers will fork out an extra $35.8 million over the next four years for federal politicians to ­employ 33 additional staff, adding to more than 1500 people already employed by MPs.

The allocation will see the extra full-time positions divided ­between the Coalition, Labor, the Greens and crossbench MPs, and also provide for some existing roles to be reclassified, costing $9.1m annually from 2017-18.

The mid-year budget review says $35.8m will “allow parliamentarians to more effectively manage their workload and represent the interest of their constituents”.

The total number of personal staff employed by government MPs is 448, including 401 for the 30 ministers and 25 for the 12 parliamentary secretaries, who are called assistant ministers.

Eight staff work for government whips and a further 14 have other roles.

The opposition employs 101 personal staff; 37 are allocated to the Leader of the Opposition, and six to opposition whips. The Greens have 17 personal staff. Each of the 15 crossbench MPs and senators have been allocated an extra three staff. In addition, there are almost 1000 staffers working in electorate offices, with the 226 MPs and ­senators entitled to four workers each.

Department of Finance documents show the number of staff classified as senior advisers ­jumped from 61 in February last year to 101 last month. In the same ­period, the total staff in lower-paid positions fell by eight.

Government staff are paid ­between $48,000 annually for an entry-level electorate staffer to $245,000 for a senior adviser, plus allowances of up to $30,000 a year.

The staff have just signed a new enterprise bargaining agreement that locks in salary and allowance increases of 2 per cent a year for the next three years.


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

A university education and a highly paid job the road to home ownership in Australia for the masses?


The Turnbull Government’s tin ear was on full display in The Sydney Morning  Herald on 21 February 2017:

The Coalition MP tasked with tackling Australia's housing affordability problems has said a "highly paid job" is the "first step" to owning a home.

The federal Victorian MP Michael Sukkar, who is the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer and has been charged with finding solutions to the country's housing affordability woes, also pointed to his own experience in purchasing two properties by the age of 35 as an example to struggling homebuyers. 

"We're also enabling young people to get highly paid jobs which is the first step to buying a house, it's not the only answer but it's the first step," Mr Sukkar told Sky News on Monday night.

"I want to see young people like me, leave university, I was a terrible university student but I left university because the economy was so good, I got a great start and I was able to forge a career," he said.

The Liberal MP for Deakin since September 2013 and Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, 35 year-old Michael Sven Sukkar LLB, BComm (Deakin), LLM (Melb), who apparently walked straight into well-paying employment at PricewaterhouseCoopers after leaving university and eleven years later owns his own home in Blackburn and a residence in Canberra after selling a second investment property in Fitzroy.

Conveniently the Australian taxpayer is assisting Mr. Sukkar with the mortgage on the possibly negatively geared Canberra property by supplying him with $273.00 for every night he stays in his own residence while parliament is sitting – an est. $11,466 for the 2017 calendar year alone.

Even at a stretch, married to a professionally qualified wife with a business partnership in a multinational firm, Michael Sukkar’s economic progress though life is hardly typical of a couple seeking to buy their first home.

However, typically of a member of the Liberal Party he assumes almost everyone can be fortunate enough to have small business owners as parents, a good education and a well-paying job before securing a parliamentary seat with an excellent superannuation plan.

According to They Vote For You during his almost three and a half years in the Australian Parliament Michael Sukkar has voted for:


And voted against:


Monday, 9 January 2017

Australian Health Minister admits abusing her parliamentary entitlements


Sussan Ley admitted the error of her ways once she was found out, but then tries to restrict any investigation of her ministerial use of car and air travel allowances to only those trips to and from the Gold Coast area in Queensland.



I have spent the past 48 hours examining my travel records.

I travelled to Brisbane on 9 May 2015 to make a major announcement about the availability of new medicines at a specialist breast cancer clinic and to meet with patients in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. As I had to be in Canberra on Sunday 10 May I decided to stay the night of 9 May on the Gold Coast rather than incur considerable extra expense by flying back to Albury and then to Canberra the following day. This travel is within the rules provided.

However, I have always sought to apply higher standards for myself in using valuable taxpayers’ funds.

While attending an auction was not the reason for my visit to Queensland or the Gold Coast, I completely understand this changed the context of the travel undertaken. The distinction between public and private business should be as clear as possible when dealing with taxpayers’ money.

I have spoken to the Prime Minister and he agrees that this claim does not meet the high standards he expects of Ministers. I apologise for the error of judgement.

Tomorrow I will ask the Department of Finance to invoice me for the costs for the car and travel allowance claimed on Saturday 9 May 2015, including the relevant penalty applied to erroneous claims.

My examination of my travel records has also brought to my attention two other claims for accommodation on the Gold Coast in 2014 and 2015 where I should have stayed and claimed in Brisbane, as well as a single one-way flight from Coolangatta to Canberra in June 2015.

I will also ask the Department of Finance to invoice me the costs of these claims, as well as the relevant penalty.

In the interests of total transparency, I will ask the department to review all my ministerial travel to the Gold Coast.

As a member of federal parliament for over fifteen years Sussan Ley well knew the rules regarding parliamentary entitlements. 

If Ms. Ley wishes to be fully transparent then all her travel claims since she first entered the ministry on 18 September 2013 should be audited.

* Undated but believed to be on or about 8 January 2017