Joe Hockey with Warren Truss, Julie Bishop, Tony Abbott, and Christopher Pyne in 2015 (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

More than 40% of Abbott-era Coalition MPs ended up with taxpayer-funded positions after leaving politics or losing their seats, an Inq analysis shows. This reveals the extent to which the government has used public office as a retirement gift or compensation.

Of more than 120 Coalition MPs and senators elected or serving in the 44th Parliament, 57 have since left politics -- either by losing their seat, losing preselection or retiring (WA MP Don Randall passed away in 2015). Of those, 26 were able to secure a new job at the expense of taxpayers.

Seven of these 26 landed diplomatic positions: Joe Hockey and Arthur Sinodinos became ambassadors to the US, George Brandis was appointed high commissioner to the UK, Brett Mason became ambassador to the Netherlands, David Bushby is Australia's consulate-general in Chicago, Sharman Stone is Australia's ambassador for women and girls, and Mitch Fifield is a UN ambassador.