Thursday, October 25, 2018

Time to end this rort

Parliamentary Services has released its annual report, showing that former MPs and their partners rorted us for $1.1 million in travel in the last year:

Travel perks for former MPs and their spouses or partners cost $1.1 million in the past year - but at least two of the ex-MPs, with quite differing ideologies, are dubious about the allowances.

The figures are included in the Parliamentary Service annual report for the 2017-2018 year. They show more than $350,000 was spent on former MPs, along with more than $320,000 on spouses or partners. Fringe benefit taxes added a substantial $435,000.

Among the top spenders were Roger Maxwell and his partner, who spent $22,180 between, Steve Maharey and his partner with $21,652, Warren Kyd and his partner with $20,614, and Sir Lockwood Smith and his partner with $20,064.

The allowances can be paid to former MPs elected before 1999, and their partners. The amount also depends on how many terms they served. There's no allowance for those with fewer than two terms, and most former MPs don't get anything unless they spent three terms in Parliament.

As I've argued over the years, this "perk" has never been justified. MPs have never been poorly paid (except perhaps in their own minds), and the other myths trotted out by the entitled rorters to "justify" it turn out to be false as well. On the flip side: every single one of these former MPs was handsomely paid while in Parliament. How much longer should we be expected to subsidise their sense of entitlement?

It is long past time to end this rort. Doing so will require an Act of Parliament. Which MP wants to put up the bill?