The conversations of life

Taxpayers to shell out $80 million a year – to make sure our pollies don’t fiddle their expenses

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Revealed in last week’s Budget, we will now pay $13.2 million to set up the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) to look into politicians’ work expenses – that’s around $59,000 per politician.

Another $35 million will go towards reviewing travel expenses paid out to MP’s this year, with over $30 million in yearly “special appropriations” to check the payments and $10 million for departmental expenses including 66 staff.

In total, the new scheme, which starts on 1 July, will cost taxpayers around $313 million over the next four years.

The authority was announced by the Federal Government back in February following revelations that the Health Minister Sussan Ley had bought an $800,000 Gold Coast apartment while on a taxpayer-funded trip. She was then forced to quit her post.

Spending up big – to stop big spenders

At the time, Malcolm Turnbull said: “We should be as careful and accountable with taxpayers money as we possibly can be … we are dealing with other people’s money.”

They need the reminder. The Remuneration Tribunal reported last year that in just one year, politicians spent $31.13 million on domestic and overseas travel – that’s about 1,058 tickets a week!

And let’s not forget Bronwyn Bishop’s now-infamous $5,000 helicopter ride.

The Government has promised the new system will only cost us $3 million more than what’s already being spent.

Is it fair that we should have to pay more? No.

But the cost of keeping our politicians honest? Priceless.

Lauren Broomham

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.


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