Thursday, November 18, 2010

Credit where credit is due II

The Speaker has agreed to abolish the international travel perk for sitting MPs, and instead establish a new system for the funding of work related travel. That's good, and MPs deserve credit for it. The perception of self-interest and entitlement around this unjustifiable rort has seriously undermined public confidence in our Parliament. By ending it, they've restored some of that confidence.

Unfortunately, its somewhat tarnished by the fact that they didn't go all the way. While sitting MPs will no longer be able to enjoy subsidised holidays on the taxpayer, former MPs still will. This is even more of a rort, in that there's no suggestion whatsoever that such travel serves any Parliamentary purpose. But as noted yesterday, senior members of the Parliamentary Services commission, including the Speaker himself, benefit from this rort, as do 29 32 sitting MPs across the entire house. And they seem to have put their self-interest before the public interest in refusing to surrender it. They'll give up their perk, it seems, when we pry it from their cold, dead hands.