Australiaâ€™s own version of the Panama papers is the
Report of the Independent Parliamentary Entitlements System Review, February 2016.
A secret alliance between Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull to join forces to become the Gordon Gekko of Australian Politics?Â The 2016 Independent Review Committee’s Report of politicians entitlements is totally indefensible.
Gekko has become a symbol in popular culture for unrestrained greed (with the signature line, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good”), often in fields outside corporate finance, more recently politics.
On September 25, 2008, Michael Douglas, acting as a UN ambassador for peace, was at the 2008 session of the United Nations General Assembly. Reporters sought to ask him off topic questions about Gordon Gekko; “Douglas was asked whether he bore some responsibility for the behavior of the greed merchants who had brought the world to its knees thanks to his (aka Gekko’s) encouragement.” Trying to return to topic, Douglas suggested “that the same level of passion Wall Street investors showed should also apply to getting rid of nuclear weapons.”
The actor was also asked to compare nuclear Armageddon with the “financial Armageddon on Wall Street”. After one reporter inquired, “Are you saying, Gordon, that greed is not good?” Douglas stated, “I’m not saying that. And my name is not Gordon. It’s a character I played 20 years ago.”
On October 8, 2008, the character was referenced by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in his speech, “The Children of Gordon Gekko” concerning the Financial crisis of 2007-2010. Rudd stated â€œIt is perhaps time now to admit that we did not learn the full lessons of the greed-is-good ideology. And today we are still cleaning up the mess of the 21st-century children of Gordon Gekko.â€
Former Prime Ministers have been paid ongoing “entitlements” of $6,894.891.05, with the most prolific spender being The Hon John Howard OM AC having spent $2,243.883.89 til June 2015. We cannot tell you how much more since the accounts from June 2015 have not been released by the Australian Government.
On Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th April 2016 there were a plethora of politicians, donors, supporters, political staffers, hangers-on and vested interests enjoying a talk feast and celebration of all things political to mark the 20th anniversary of the election of John Howard’s government. Naturally all of the politicians and staff are enjoying this weekend knees-up entirely at the taxpayers expense. All salary (including overtime), accommodation, expenses, travel (business class or better) remember helicopters are often good for these junkets ask Bronwyn or Barnaby. Going on past performance the costs for the vast shindig will not be made available until towards the end of 2017.
There has never been a better time to be a politician.
My favorite word of the month
( an act undertaken to increase your own power and influence or to draw attention to your own importance)
A Report that dissembles, obfuscates, Strong words indeed.
The 2016 Independent Review Committee’s Report of politicians entitlements is totally indefensible.
It not only failed to address the core issues, it further seeks to hide and disguise underlying problems such as, Gold Pass, Family Travel, obscene Payments to Former Prime Ministers, Golden hand shakes disguised as severance, Charter Travel abuse, Travel by politicians to attend political party meetings, meet executives and committee members of a political party all costs including travel, salary, travel allowances and accommodation expenses at taxpayers cost, ad nauseam. From Jan-June 2015 parliamentarians (MP’s and Senators) spent $48 million dollars on “Entitlements”!
None of these political party traveling junkets to ensure factional support could be remotely deemed to be “work-related-expenses”. This self-serving report at the same time expands the opportunities for continued future abuse, rorts and unethical practices.
This so called independent reviews report attempts to justify the continued self-regulation of travel expenses by applying the very questionable “principles-based” methodology (as the means to justify the continued lack of accountability of politician’s travel abuse and rorts) brings the Review Committee itself into disrepute.
Partially underpinning that assertion is yet another elephant in the room. Never discussed, mentioned or publicized, until now. It is the obscene almost seven million ($6,894,891.05) paid to former Prime Ministers as travel expenses, office hire etc.
Truly if any former Past Prime Ministers believes that he/she is of such immeasurable value to Australia, it’s policies, political debate and the future our our country. Then they have the right as any taxpayer. Stand for re-election.
Let the voters decide. Only when they are re-elected and hold office should they be entitled to any expenses work related or not. Demand that this $7 million dollar rort be ended, nowAll former Prime Minister receive an enormously handsome superannuation. From memory the rules provide that when a serving Prime Ministers looses office he/she is entitled (don’t you just love that word) to an salary equivalent to position of office last held (between $200,000 to $500,000 give or take a little) indexed for life. Surely all former Prime Ministers must be astute and capable to live handsomely on that income?
Or is it more “self-aggrandizement”? Lest we forget that they made an annual contribution of between ten per cent and a maximum of fourteen and one half percent to that superannuation fund. There is no end to the excess.
This outdated hugely offensive and totally unnecessary waste of taxpayers money continues to be supported by the vast majority of politicians on both sides of the fence, past and present.
Demand that this ongoing rort be ended, now. We certainly don’t need an independent review to tell us what we already know. Enough is enough. Lets dam the stream and empty the well.
Stop the former Prime Ministers sucking on the public purse. Today!
Our examination of the published records confirm the former Prime Ministers have been and continue to claim for Domestic Scheduled Fares, Car Costs, Office Fit Outs, Office Administrative Costs, Telecommunications, Family Travel Costs, and Overseas Travel. Listed below are the former Prime Ministers and the amounts claimed from 2008 to June 2015.Â Â Â Â PDF download of worksheet here
Note: The records for the time frame July-Dec 2015 and Jan 2016 onward have not been made public. We have not “as yet” itemized the Overseas Travel costs incurred by the former Prime Ministers under their “entitlements”!Â Â The overseas travel costs of the former Prime Ministers will substantially increase the overall cost to the Australian taxpayer.
To slightly misquote the Prime Minister
“We believe deep in our DNA, that the job of government is to enable Australians to do their best, to enable them to use that freedom, that ingenuity, that entrepreneurship to invest to employ and to grow. Then they will create the successful future we all depend upon. And we should extract as much for our own benefit as is possible“
END THE ENTITLEMENTS RORTS NOW
Demand that Prime Minister Turnbull disallow and disavow this useless, obscenely self-serving report be heavily amended with meaningful recommendations that will ensure “full transparency” and “full accountability” of all politicians travel allowances and operating costs which are then published on-line in real time (never less than 7 days in arrears). Entitlement (work expense) reports are more than nine months in arrears – why?
When they have time to lean (political party meetings, et..,)
they have time to clean (keep records up-to-date and publish on-line).
Your participation in our survey
“Should parliamentarians business expenses be fully accountable”
is hugely important. Thank you in advance.
Should you experience trouble completing entitlements survey, Please Click this link to open a new window.Â Or you may choose to complete the survey from our Facebook page. Thank You for taking the time to complete this survey.
Change will only occur through tireless efforts of folk like you.
Go immediately, now, today, to each and every social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google + etc and tell your Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that unless he acts to condemn thisÂ obscenely self-serving report, then you are forced to believe that he is a Gordon Gekko in disguise and must therefore be in partnership with Tony Abbott.
It was Tony Abbott who commissioned his cronies and political hacks to conduct this self-serving and offensive review of parliamentary entitlements. The Report continues to enshrine former Prime Ministers sucking on the public purse, Gold Pass for politicians, Overseas Study for politicians, total lack of accountability for politicians travel (helicopters and chartered aircraft, ad nauseam).
The plethora of the recommendations failed to provide any form or structure that would ensure practical, realistic, timely and transparent accountability of all business expenses for members of parliament!