Who says it’s all work and no play for our pollies? We’ve been combing through the donations register for January and February, and in addition to the usual bottles of wine, cigars and flight upgrades, our federal politicians have been given some event tickets over summer, too. Many of them spent their holidays being wined and dined at concerts, theatres and sporting events across the county.
The West Indian cricket tour of Australia proved most popular among the members of the Labor Party, with Brendan O’Connor given tickets to day two of the Boxing Day test match, and Chris Hayes and Stephen Jones given tickets to the Test match in Sydney. Michelle Rowland also got caught up in the shorter form of the game, enjoying the T20 international cricket match between Australia and India, gratis.
A few Coalition MPs also enjoyed the bat and ball, as Tony Pasin was given tickets to the first ever day-night Test match played in Adelaide, and Speaker of the House Tony Smith and Andrew Robb also guests at the Boxing Day Test match.
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The Australian summer of tennis seemed to be more of a Liberal affair, with cabinet members Steven Ciobo, Andrew Robb, Josh Frydenberg and Warren Truss as well as MP Alan Tudge, all enjoying time out at Melbourne Park for the Australian Open on someone else’s dime.
Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg also saw the tennis at the Kooyong Classic, which is unsurprising as he is the federal member for Kooyong. And Ian Goodenough proved good enough to earn himself a corporate box for the Hopman Cup in Perth– we hope he was not late, courtesy of his very real Rolex.
Jim Chalmers, opposition spokesman for sport, finally made a summer sporting appearance, turning heads (specifically his own) at the men’s semi-final at the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament.
Theatre and Cultural
The Liberals were pirouetting about town, as Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt and former speaker Bronwyn Bishop both attending the Australian Ballet for free. Bishop also received tickets to see the Sound of Music and a summer pass for the Australian Opera, where she may have bumped into Nationals member Darren Chester, although they probably didn’t share a helicopter ride home.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop spent her time fan-girling at the Elton John concert and Hugh Jackman’s “Broadway to Oz” performance.
Anthony Albanese preferred a more highbrow set of free tickets, attending the the Sydney Festival and the Sydney Theatre Company’s performance of King Lear. His fellow shadow cabinet minister, Richard Marles, went to shake it off at the Taylor Swift concert.