I don't know about you but the nearest that when it comes to most of us making an "impulse purchase", is looking at a Triple Choc Mars Bar or that can of Red Bull as they pass through the checkout at the supermarket. I don't know in what world the purchase of an $700,000 apartment "was not planned nor anticipated".
I don'y know what kind of halfwits and idiots that Sussan Ley takes the Australian public for but obviously she has such disdain for the people who ultimately pay her wages, that she takes pride in pulling the wool over people's eyes while she's trying to fleece them; then as health minister, charging them $7 in a Medicare co-payment when their eyes fall out of their head.
As it was we all collectively blew our noses when the former Treasurer Joe Hockey, had to get the then Speaker of the House of Representatives Bronwyn Bishop to explain why she spent $5000 on an 80km helicopter ride to a Liberal fundraiser. As he said, it didn't pass the "sniff test"; that is, it stunk.
The way that I see it, a lot of the problem lies in the fact that the person who is responsible for a government department is the relevant minister; when the the relevant minister is responsible to nobody in the department except for themselves, it should surprise no-one when something stinks in the state of Denmark.
As the Australian National Audit Office said eight years ago in its report on the "Administration of Parliamentarians' Entitlements by the Department of Finance and Deregulation":
26. There is considerable variation in the extent to which entitlements use is required to be for prescribed purposes.Where purposes are prescribed, the meaning of key terms such as ‘Parliamentary', ‘electorate' and ‘party' business has not been articulated such that the purpose to which relevant entitlements may be put remains open to considerable interpretation. In addition, Finance has advised ANAO that the absence of definitions means the department may have no basis on which to undertake post-payment checks of some entitlements.
- ANAO, 8th Sep 2009
If there is no real basis to make "post-payment checks of some entitlements" then when parliamentarians rort the system as clearly this was, then there are no proper checks than can be put in place.
In the case of the former speaker Bronwyn Bishop, after she had claimed $5,227.27 for a journey which would have cost about $11.14 in my little car, she absolutely refused to resign over the expenses claim, describing it as an "error of judgement". Except in the case of Bronwyn Bishop, as we have now discovered with this expenses scandal is that her judgement is as honest as a nine dollar note.
'Socialism is on the march, if you expose it, it can be defeated,' she said.
'There is still that underlining philosophical question, whereas there are people who are determined, socialists who are in this community who want to see anything to do with free enterprise attacked.'
'And anyone who has anything to do with free enterprise, attack them harder.'
- Bronwyn Bishop, via Sky News, 9th Jan 2017.
I want to know, at what point is essentially what amounts to stealing from the Australian public through the use of parliamentary entitlements ever considered "free enterprise"? Does that mean to say that Ned Kelly was engaging in "free enterprise" when he was making withdrawlas from the banks at Euroa and Jerilderie that were "not planned nor anticipated"?
The real underlining philosophical question that has not been addressed, is: is it right to steal from the good and fair people of Australia and fob it off under the guise of entitlements?
As the Australian National Audit Office said, as elected officials holding public office, Parliamentarians are expected to act with integrity in accordance with the public trust placed in them. The problem is that as we have seen repeatedly and even yesterday when it came out that four cabinet ministers billed the Australian taxpayer $7000 in COMCAR, flights and other travel allowance expenses to attend a New Year's Eve function put on by the Prime Minister. that the number of Parliamentarians who actually can act with integrity in accordance with the public trust placed in them, is zero,
If I was Grand Poobah and Lord High Everything Else, then the amount that Parliamentarians would be able to claim under any circumstances would be zero. All 226 Parliamentarians in both the House of Representatives and the Senate under employed under the terms of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 and as such, I'd want to take all of their entitlement claims out of their hands and place in into the hands of the Department of Parliamentary Services. They could organise travel and other expenses and it should all be cheaper due to economies of scale. As an aside, I'd have all politicians travel in Economy class no matter where they were going so that they'd have to ride in the same places as the rest of the halfwits, idiots and scum that we call the Australian public. Shock, horror, they'd actually have to sit next to their constituents. Ewww.
Nobody in parliament would accept the reform that I've just suggested because it would mean that not only would they have to take their snouts out of the trough but probably both front trotters as well and that would result in a lot of squealing. Not before they'd booked a flight made an "impulse purchase" of a $750,000 apartment and charged it as a parliamentary entitlement though.