Australian politicians have been under sustained scrutiny in recent weeks over their travel expenses, with a number of MPs flying their children around the country in business class at taxpayer expense.
The Sunday Telegraph revealed that treasurer Joe Hockey, who lectured Australians that “the age of entitlement is over” had taxpayers pick up the $8000 tab to fly his family business class to Perth, during school holidays in April 2013.
Labor’s Tony Burke spent a similar amount flying his family business class to Uluru in 2012.
Education minister Christopher Pyne asked taxpayers to hand over $7000 for his family, including four children, to fly business from Adelaide to Canberra to watch dad in parliament, and another $5000 to fly three family members, at $1200 each, to Sydney for a six-day trip on Boxing Day, 2009.
Immigration minister Peter Dutton spent $140,000 for his family to fly business class, mostly between Brisbane and Canberra, over the past five years, including three-day $7210 trip to Cairns in July last year ,which included his wife and three children.
The response from Australian politicians to public concern about the expenditure, in each instance, was that they hadn’t done anything wrong and it was all within the rules and their entitlements under the family reunion scheme.
If you want to see how much Australian politicians spend on travel, this amazing interactive graphic shows how Canberra’s MPs spent $1 million a month on travel.
It’s worth noting that federal MP travel entitlements jumped 17% to $35.4 million last year, $5 million more than 2013’s election year, with expenses related to family travel up 13% above the previous four-year average.
So it’s also worth noting that British prime minister David Cameron headed off on holidays in Algarve, Portugal, with his wife Samantha and their children on the weekend.
He flew economy. On Easyjet, the British no-frills budget carrier.
We know this because he was sitting with his bodyguard just a few seats away from a teenage girl, Ashleigh, who took photos of the British PM eating Pringles on the flight on Twitter and posted them on her (now locked) account, @accioeverlark.
David Cameron is one of the world’s most powerful leaders, leading a nation with a population three times bigger than Australia’s, with a GDP of around $AU4 trillion, double Australia’s.
And yet he flies economy on a cheap airline.
Remember that next time an Australian politician justifies their travel entitlements.
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