Jan 11, 2017

Pollie expenses are an easy fix, but don’t hold your breath

The summer time expenses scandal could be a thing of the past if politicians wanted it to be.

Josh Taylor — Journalist

Josh Taylor


We could quickly dispense with the summer ritual of travel expenses scandals if the government actually did what was recommended and overhauled the expenses system, but that would be too easy.


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13 thoughts on “Pollie expenses are an easy fix, but don’t hold your breath

  1. Robert Kirby

    There is an easier way than managing data after the fact. That is, change expenses to reimbursement of actual expenses, rather than payment of per diems. Actual expenses incurred means there is no motivation to receive an overnight tax free allowance of $300 per night away. Hence travel is for actual business rather than pleasure. Introducing an expense management system, such as Concur, means that pollies can process their expense claims using a credit card processed automatically into the system. Full visibility and no delays, as the claims are processed real time as the transactions take place. Time for the system to match present day technology and business practice.

  2. David Havyatt

    Reform should start by referring to it as “expenditure” not “entitlements”

  3. Khupert the Runt

    With regard to both comments, and with a quick look at the 36 recommendations, I don’t think anything is going to change. The biggest rort is the the one where polly x gets an invite or has a yen to be in say Melbourne for a big private event, when they live in say Brisbane.

    The existing process seems to be: Make an appointment on that date at a convenient time with someone which could pass the test of being “parliamentary business”. Book your trip with all the bells and whistles, have your quick bit of “parliamentary Business” and go on to the 6 star hotel, or Melbourne Cup or footy final or 60th Birthday, and claim the whole lot as parliamentary business.

    Unless there is a) public knowledge of the private events that parliamentarians attend, and b) some test of whether the “parliamentary business” has been confected, we will continue to suffer politicians who exploit this loophole. None of the 36 recommendations address this.

    Sorry, but in my view it’s a whitewash!

  4. Richard

    Perhaps politicians can be treated very much as anybody else traveling for business ..(Perish the thought!).
    If I go on a business trip:
    1) I have to justify it. It has t o fall into one or more of a number of specific categories. Talking to clients/customers/patients, in this day and age of instantaneous communication is not acceptable.
    2) I can not take my partner on the taxpayers $$ unless they have a clearly defined role in my business and I certainly can not take kids.
    3) If there is a side function that for instance, is on one day of 3 away, then that 33% is not claimable and neither are any other associated expenses.
    4) If I want to talk to somebody about something that can’t really be done by letter, I don’t fly RAAF or any other airline (Business class of course), or expect the taxman to allow my aircraft charter .. No, I either pick up the phone or FaceTime or Skype. Given the facilities that Parliament has, it is inexcusable that trips are allowed “to fact find”.. As an aside, I would suggest that all flyer points that our country and globe trotting public servants accrue at taxpayers expense, should automatically be given over to charity.

    Why are our public servants still allowed to think they have these huge entitlements? It is not as if they are doing a fraction of the good they claim to be.
    Mos of the work would get done without all their grandstanding and attending football matches… Why should I have to pay for these ba$tardS?

  5. Brett Davidson

    Oh dear. Julie Bishop didn’t go on a water polo trip. If only water polo was so glamourous!

  6. Mike Smith

    PDFs are quite able to be machine read and put into other forms, spreadsheets if you like, although a spreadsheet is just a badly designed database.

  7. Sally Goldner

    Another possible solution is teach politicians and anyone else in a position of influence words like responsibility and ethics – it just might take a long time. 🙂

  8. klewso

    Why can’t our parliament just adapt/adopt any of those systems that work?
    This mob would stand to loose too much?

    Treat ’em like they treat those of our society on “benefits”?
    “If you organise your parliamentary business to suit your personal business = red flag”?

  9. Daly

    I would like people to distinguish between three categories of people:
    – politicians, who are the subject of this article, who we elect to Parliament
    – their parliamentary and electoral office staff who are employed by them for their parliamentary term, usually party apparatchiks and
    – public servants who work in departments like Human Services and statutory authorities like the Tax Office to deliver programs to the public. These people have extremely tight regulations and budgets for any travel or entitlements; much tighter than private sector employees in my experience.
    The first two categories seem to have lax rules and little accountability, hence the travel scandals each January.

  10. The Curmudgeon

    Do these rorters ever consider that every revelation helps fuel disenchantment with the system and, ultimately, assists with the election of extremists promising to drain the swamp? Are they stupid, or do they just not care?

    1. old greybearded one

      They think and know that WE are stupid because we do not punish them.

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