Tony Burke and his family took a trip to Uluru in 2012. The family flew business class. We hope they had a lovely time, because the airfares cost us, the taxpayers, more than $2000 a pop.

Burke says he met with members of a local community while he was there, in his capacity as environment minister. But it doesn’t matter — the facts speak for themselves that this was primarily a family holiday.

Philip Ruddock has claimed almost $20,000 in recent years for him and his family to travel to far north Queensland, where he reportedly owns an apartment in a beachfront complex.

On each trip, according to a report in The Australian today, Ruddock typically charged for two plane tickets from Sydney — at about $3500 for both — plus cars and traveling allowances.

Ruddock also says he travels north regularly on business, and has asked his staff to review his expenses to identify “any erroneous claims”. But again, the facts speak for themselves.

If the Bronwyn Bishop saga has highlighted anything it’s that we are regularly paying for our politicians’ family holidays. And lavish ones at that.

The average backbencher’s salary is $195,130 per annum. Committee chairs and ministers get more. The average Australian is on $76,752 a year — less than half what the most junior federal member earns.

Hey, politicians: pay for your own goddamn holidays. You can afford it.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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