Feb 2, 2018

Want to avoid scandals? Reform your damn MP entitlements schemes.

The Victorian government is moving to reform transparency surrounding MP allowances in an effort to stave off any more embarrassing scandals. But is it just a de-fanged rehash of federal rules?

William Summers

Independent researcher and blogger

Back in 2016, I went to the Victorian Parliament website to try to find out how much State MPs in my area had been spending on parliamentary allowances. It didn’t go well.

Not only was there no information about how much each of the 128 MPs in Victoria had been claiming, the website didn’t even tell me what the allowance rules were. It had nothing on there about how much MPs were allowed to claim, nor what for. It didn’t even (and still doesn’t) publish how much elected members receive as a base salary.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

3 thoughts on “Want to avoid scandals? Reform your damn MP entitlements schemes.

  1. AR

    The lack of detail, long lag times and deliberate obfuscation of simple facts – salary, expenses etc – were understandable in the days of pen & ink, physically but this new fangled Intertubes thangy seems to be ideal for having all information on OUR representative/servants fully and comprehensively available, instantly if not sooner.
    Oh look, up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Porcus Aviatrix!

  2. Grant ELLIOTT

    The solution is so simple. All expenses to be paid in the first instance by the member to be reimbursed after scrutiny by a review committee. Upgrades should be excluded from reimbursement as they are for personal reasons. Side trips with family and staff should also be excluded. So it goes.

  3. [email protected]

    Maybe we should adopt a pay regime for MPs devised in Singapore. That is, work out a reasonable total amount for salary and necessary expenditures, then give them that total (in fortnightly chunks) and not one cent more. Then, lo! Househunting trips to the Gold Coast would cease ! Helicopter rides to weddings would be unheard of ! Melbourne MPs would no longer pretend they live in the bush in order to claim travel allowances (a ploy well-known in NSW, by the way; it was practiced decades ago both by Labor Premier Barry Unsworth and — with no word of a lie, of course — by that professional Christian, Fred Nile). As for the howls of country MPs that their extra transport costs are not being addressed — tough. The National Party teaches us that you go to where your job is. If you don’t want to move there, well, you commute at your own expense. That’s what applied to employees of NSW Agriculture when it was decentralized from Sydney to Orange by a Nat Minister (who didn’t decentralize himself, though). It also applies right now to employees of the PVMA, who are being moved from Canberra to Armidale by a Federal Nat Minister (who also won’t decentralize himself but who wants his next wife to have some civilized company?). No doubt Nat MPs would keep howling anyway, to which the rest of need only say — welcome to your own Australia. We have a market economy here, so if you yourself want something, then you yourself must pay for it. Financial transparency good, bludging ba-a-a-a-a-a-d !

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details