Australian taxpayers are picking up the tab for politicians using social media

Senator Sam Dastyari. Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty Images.

The next time you see Labor senator Sam Dastyari in a quirky video on Facebook, if you’re an Australian taxpayer, you deserve a movie producer credit.

Dastyari, best known for resigning from Labor’s shadow ministry last year in the wake of a scandal over a getting an education company with close links to the ruling Chinese communist government to pay his travel expenses, billed taxpayers $20,000 in a day for four Facebook videos, ahead of the 2016 federal election, the ABC reports.

Department of Finance records reveal that much like the rest of the nation, which has given up on sending letters, MPs are now spending their postal allowance online and in social media.

Four days out from the election, Senator Dastyari charged four videos at $5000 each to the department. One included his own children (which has since been removed) discussing taxation.

Others involved Labor’s campaign in Tasmania on the “Bill bus”.

Dastyari posts snippets of videos on Facebook almost daily and regularly receives tens of thousands of views. He told the ABC it was value for money.

Here’s a recent post against the NBN rollout that’s had more than 100,000 views.

The ABC revealed Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt spent $9,000 on three Facebook videos ahead of the election last year, including one calling for volunteers to help with his campaign, while Liberal MP Tim Wilson spent nearly $25,000 of taxpayer’s funds on an eponymous website once he was elected.

You can read more on how politicians are spending taxpayer funds on social media here.

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