Monday, November 15, 2010

Ending the rort

So, how do we end MPs travel rort? Its actually very simple. The entire system is established by a Speaker's Direction [PDF], so all Smith has to do is amend it or issue a new one with the offending sections removed. He can do it with a flick of his pen. As for why he doesn't, well, one can't help but notice that as an MP first elected before 1999, Lockwood Smith is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the perk, and will receive it for the rest of his life. There's just a teensy bit of self-interest here...

In the longer term, the Parliamentary Service (Continuation of Interim Meaning of Funding for Parliamentary Purposes) Act 2009 defines "funding entitlements for parliamentary purposes" as including:

the provision of benefits or privileges of a specified kind for former members of Parliament and members of their families in accordance with an appropriation by Parliament of money for that purpose.
This needs to be changed to have a strict three-month limit (required to allow final payments to former MPs and the limited travel entitlement to allow their final relocation). If any MP is interested in taking a principled stand, then a bill to do it is here. If you want to highlight the issue, then asking for leave to introduce it every day would be a good start.