By Michael Giles
THERE’S really no point asking our MPs and others sustained by the public purse to exercise more self-control when hitting us up for unreasonable expense account claims.
Because if they could see that what they are doing is wrong, they wouldn’t do it.
The fact is that our State and Federal MPs have long since been playing the game of not incurring any personal costs whatsoever after being elected to office.
The ultimate success, for many of them, is being able to save their entire salary while only living on the public tab.
In fact some even go so far as not doing anything for which they can’t submit an expense claim.
They organise spurious ‘meetings’ they could have conducted over the phone, in certain places at certain times, so that they can attend their own social, sporting or family events; or claim for attending party functions that have everything to do with regaining pre-selection and nothing to do with their job.
They will organise dinner meetings with people they couldn’t care a toss about, just so they can get a free feed.
And they accept or reject invitations to events based, not on their importance to the portfolio or to the voters, but based on what they are getting out of it… free entertainment, booze, food and accommodation, especially where it fits in with their own private agenda.
So let’s not be swayed by their indignant repudiations of “it wasn’t me, it was the other guy!”
Because they simply can’t see it.
Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with an MP travelling business class on planes, because we expect them to get to the location ready to work.
And when they need to be at a meeting in the morning, reasonable accommodation expenses are OK too.
And attending sporting and cultural events, not only to support these organisations which love to have them there, but also to meet with business and community leaders, is also acceptable.
But there’s too much rorting going on. And deep down they know it!
For one thing, the government should immediately cut back retrospectively on the ridiculously generous perks that ex-MPs are presently entitled to.
It should also introduce a common sense authority that overseas MPs claims so that gilt-edged trips overseas and all the other outlandish excesses are sent back, with no right of appeal, for the MPs to pay for themselves. That would soon pull it up.
The amazing thing is that these people fight tooth and nail to get into these positions, to represent us, and then the first thing they want to do is sock it to the taxpayer.
They’re all doing it, or almost all, and it’s got to stop.
In fact, any public servant submitting a claim on the taxpaying public should be trying to minimise those claims and thinking long and hard about whether the claim is legitimate.
If you’re not sure, ask someone down at the pub!