Friday, April 26, 2013

Abusing Ministerial office for self advancement

Last week we learned that the Minister of Trade negotiations, Tim Groser, had spent almost $250,000 of taxpayer's money promoting himself for his bid to head the WTO. That bid has now failed, but the entire thing is a perfect example of why the public are distrustful of politicians and their spending: while there are legitimate expenses involved with being a Minister, trying to set yourself up for a post-political career isn't one of them. The expenditure was for personal purposes, not official Ministerial ones. As such, it is outside the appropriation, arguably unlawful, and should be repaid.

And while we're at it, we've been paying Groser $250,000 a year to represent us in international trade negotiations, a job he has been neglecting for his own personal advancement. That needs to stop as well. We pay Ministers and MPs the big money because we expect them to represent us. If they don't want to do that job, they should do the decent thing and resign - not continue to serve in name only so they can spend our money on boosting their own careers.

(Meanwhile, it looks like its time for the quarterly trawl to see which Ministers have been abusing their expense accounts...)