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Weddings! Parties! Anything!!

October 1, 2013

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The Coalition government is off to a rip-rorting start with startling revelations that the newly-appointed Attorney General and self-appointed defender of the public good George Brandis claimed $1800 of tax-payer funded expenses to attend the lavish private wedding of friend and former right-wing shock jock Michael Smith.

Senator Brandis was forced to pay back the $1683.06 in taxpayer-funded entitlements he claimed after attending the wedding, despite saying he did nothing wrong.

The wedding was also attended by Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Mr Joyce claimed a lesser amount for a Comcar to the hotel he was staying at near the wedding reception venue.

In an unapologetic letter to the Department of Finance, Senator Brandis said he considered the costs were within parliamentary entitlements, “since they were incurred in the course of attendance at a function primarily for work-related purposes”.

He added: “I remain of that view.”

It’s not enough that mug taxpayers weather the pious verities and libellous ravings of shock-jocks and their parliamentary clients, but now it turns out we have been unwittingly funding such fetid collaborations as well.

Brandis argued that attending the wedding was “in the interest of the public good,” and that taxpayers should fork out because his attendance was “primarily a professional rather than a social engagement.”

Clearly this is bollocks, but epitomises the sense of entitlement that pervades every aspect of the born to rule mob’s mentality.

No sooner was he attempting to defend the indefensible when it emerged that he had also amassed a “personal library” to the tune of $13,000 during the last four years, also funded by the taxpayer.

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Brandis lashed out at criticism of his lavish spending at taxpayers’ expense saying that Peter Slipper also stands accused of rorting public funds.

Peter Slipper was also a Liberal MP at the time of the alleged offending.

 

 

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52 Comments leave one →
  1. Splatterbottom permalink
    October 1, 2013 5:34 pm

    This is reminiscent of the early Howard years. Howard brought in a new code of conduct and lost 3 or 4 ministers before he decided to drop it.

    This time around Bishop made a fuss about spending less on travel and accommodation on her trip to New York and about being careful about the way the government spent the peoples’ money. Obviously the message didn’t get through to some of the trough-snouters.

  2. Neil of Sydney permalink
    October 1, 2013 5:52 pm

    Beats me why people have no shame using taxpayers money. You would think that they would be more careful however they seem to be less careful. And the strange thing is they know one day it most probably will come out but do it anyway.

    And both sides do it. Maybe only people with no shame enter politics.

  3. October 1, 2013 5:57 pm

    “And both sides do it. Maybe only people with no shame enter politics.”

    This is one of those rare occasions where I agree with you Neil.

    In addition to having no shame, they all seem to have no qualms about rorting the system as far as possible…

    I don’t have an issue with the salaries they receive while employed as MPs, but it’s the post-parliamentary career pensions and perks that irk me..

  4. TB Queensland permalink
    October 1, 2013 6:11 pm

    Kneel, I’m impressed …!

    Apologies, sreb … couldn’t help my self …

    **The Coalition government is off to a rip-rorting (luv it!) start with sparkling wine revelations …

    It’s not enough that mug taxpayers weather the pious verities and libellous ravings of shock-jocks and their parliamentary clients, but now it turns out we have been unwittingly funding such fetid collaborations as well.

    YEP! I wondered if anyone else had noticed the “link” … I’m yet to hear of a “leftie” shock jock … our local talk-back station 4BC used to be quite bi-partisan and then … all the announcers suddenly became very pro-Abbott and Liberal Party …

    I have no idea who owns the network nationally … but I could have a guess …

  5. TB Queensland permalink
    October 1, 2013 6:12 pm

    … it’s the post-parliamentary career pensions and perks that irk me..

    And most Aussies, I’d say, sreb!

  6. Splatterbottom permalink
    October 1, 2013 6:18 pm

    “And both sides do it. Maybe only people with no shame enter politics.”

    That does not mean we should not bludgeon the turds when their avarice is exposed. This is a very bad look for the Libs.

    “it’s the post-parliamentary career pensions and perks that irk me.”

    How cynical of you. It is very nice that a former PM should be able to afford a $2m Adelaide waterfront mansion, a $200k pension, travel and an office after a lifetime of humble service to the public.

  7. October 1, 2013 6:19 pm

    “sparkling wine revelations”

    Remind me never to invite you to write a post.

  8. TB Queensland permalink
    October 1, 2013 6:21 pm

    What about this, Kneel, more cronyism in NSW … just like Queensland’s government …

    http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/national/nsw-minister-accused-over-jobs-for-boys/story-e6frfku9-1226730913875

  9. October 1, 2013 6:22 pm

    “after a lifetime three years of humble service to the public”

    Nice work if you can get it.

  10. Neil of Sydney permalink
    October 1, 2013 6:24 pm

    This is a very bad look for the Libs.

    Yes it is. But apparently this was done when they were in Opposition not in govt. Not saying that makes it any better. But you would think people would be more careful since it is other peoples money.

    “I’m yet to hear of a “leftie” shock jock”

    You may be right. But at least the shock jocks are not giving their opinions using taxpayers money. Since they generate enough money to pay their own way they can say anything they like.

    Not so the ABC which uses taxpayers funds to push an ALP agenda.

  11. egg permalink
    October 1, 2013 6:24 pm

    I expected no less from Brandis, but Barnaby is a suprise, him being an accountant.

  12. TB Queensland permalink
    October 1, 2013 6:26 pm

    How cynical of you.

    FMD! A bit of sarc …

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Remind me never to invite you to write a post.

    I wouldn’t! You still owe me for the embarrassment of being trapped at Tangalooma heliport, just trying to get a story!! Anyway you already have … 🙄

    Anyway, champagne doesn’t work with “startling” (and you knew that!) 🙄

  13. TB Queensland permalink
    October 1, 2013 6:55 pm

    … at least the shock jocks are not giving their opinions using taxpayers money …

    That’s not the point, Kneel … they peddle nasty BS most of the time …

    Not so the ABC which uses taxpayers funds to push an ALP agenda.

    Look up rhetoric … or ask your Young Libs Supervisor …

  14. Neil of Sydney permalink
    October 1, 2013 7:37 pm

    Speaking of rorts this has passed under the radar.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/tim-mathiesons-car-use-cost-julia-gillard-4000/story-fn59niix-1226720523293#

    JULIA Gillard wrote a personal cheque for $4243 to the Department of Finance because her partner, Tim Mathieson, had misused her taxpayer-funded car to drive around Victoria selling shampoo and other haircare products in breach of parliamentary rules………The misuse of Ms Gillard’s parliamentary entitlement was not known until a whistleblower alerted The Australian late last year to Mr Mathieson’s heavy use of the car when he was a PPS Hairwear salesman of hair products shortly after their relationship began.

    I do think the media does favor Labor. If this was John Howards partner doing something like that we would never have heard the end of it.

  15. October 1, 2013 8:29 pm

    George Bandis Minister for the Arts at a shock Jocks wedding FFS… Pftt heathen.

    NOS give the Associate professor and Snr fellow of one of the worlds most influential and respected think tanks on education a rest. The mincing poodle could and never will attain such status. Your logic is floored and arguments about as convincing as a sawdust pie.

  16. armchair opinionator permalink
    October 1, 2013 8:53 pm

    I expected no less from Brandis, but Barnaby is a suprise, him being an accountant.

    Seems barnaby has form at weddings, this is now wedding rort no. 3 for him – and don’t forget his writing to the rinehart kids to exert maximum pressure on behalf of their mother.

    http://www.news.com.au/national-news/barnaby-joyce-admits-he-may-have-claimed-petrol-costs-for-a-second-wedding-visit/story-fncynjr2-1226730279972

    and the indian wedding:

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/06/17/two-grand-for-barnabys-mind-blowing-india-epic-with-gina/

    Renegade Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce tapped the taxpayer for $2,000 last week to attend the lavish wedding of a granddaughter of an Indian billionaire engaged in delicate negotiations with iron ore matriarch Gina Rinehart to buy two of her Queensland assets.

    Crikey can reveal that while Rinehart paid for Joyce and deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop to travel to the abundant nuptials, Joyce used his overseas parliamentary study entitlement for the return leg from Kuala Lumpur.

  17. egg permalink
    October 1, 2013 8:58 pm

    Politicians are pathetic.

  18. Neil of Sydney permalink
    October 1, 2013 10:09 pm

    Yes they are pathetic. I guess the ALP is not making a big deal of Brandis because they most probably have done worse.

  19. October 2, 2013 6:56 am

    You all miss the point which is that the system works and when a claim for expenses has been incorrectly made it should be refunded by the claimant as it has been on this occasion. The rules are complex and the there are many instances where the nuances and ambiguities can lead to errors.
    Clearly there are more than a few minions of the left who are still wearing their Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper Tee shirts here 😉

  20. Splatterbottom permalink
    October 2, 2013 8:39 am

    “The rules are complex and the there are many instances where the nuances and ambiguities can lead to errors.”

    What is complex about putting in a claim for travel expenses to a mate’s wedding? Nothing complex about that – it is just a petty example of the banality of evil.

    This fingers-in-the-till attitude goes to character more than anything else.

    I don’t give a shit if the ALP was worse. I gave this government the benefit of the doubt but already they soiling themselves.

  21. TB Queensland permalink
    October 2, 2013 10:45 am

    You all miss the point which is that the system works and when a claim for expenses has been incorrectly

    None of us miss the point, IH … Brandis and Joyce tried to cheat the system and got caught … most employers I know (including me) who prove stealing (and fighting in some workplaces) advocate instant dismissal …

    This crap is just another example of rules for them and rules for us … lifetime pensions after being elected for three terms(?) is fkn stupid … as is the gold pass nonsense …

  22. October 2, 2013 11:34 am

    “None of us miss the point, IH … Brandis and Joyce tried to cheat the system and got caught … most employers I know (including me) who prove stealing (and fighting in some workplaces) advocate instant dismissal …”

    AGREED!

  23. Neil of Sydney permalink
    October 2, 2013 3:46 pm

    ” Brandis and Joyce tried to cheat the system and got caught … most employers I know (including me) who prove stealing (and fighting in some workplaces) advocate instant dismissal

    There may not be many MP’s left in Parliament if those rules applied.

  24. October 2, 2013 3:55 pm

    Those rules should apply more resolutely than ever to people elected to high public office. Safe to say that if such thievery was disclosed prior to an election, the bastards wouldn’t get a chance to leech the public purse.

  25. October 2, 2013 3:56 pm

    I couldn’t give a fuck about their private lives…but when I have taxation imposed upon me I expect the fruits of that to be treated with respect.

  26. Neil of Sydney permalink
    October 2, 2013 3:59 pm

    What to do Toilet?? Both sides do it. Rather than be more careful with other peoples money politicians seem to be less careful.

  27. October 2, 2013 4:05 pm

    On this, Neil, we are in profound agreement.

    Yes, both sides do it. It’s a testament to their arrogance that they do it so regularly & with the knowledge that it will probably be uncovered someday.

    I think zero tolerance is about all that would prevent it. But, because it’s a feature of politicians in general, they seem to close ranks & let it slide.

  28. Neil of Sydney permalink
    October 2, 2013 4:35 pm

    One problem is that the rules appear to be “loose”. As we all know Politicians can be trusted to be honourable people so the rules do not need to be as tight as for the corporate world.

    In case people did not realise that was an attempt at humour by me.

  29. TB Queensland permalink
    October 2, 2013 4:41 pm

    Well done, Kneel! I chuckled anyway … a new beginning!

  30. October 2, 2013 4:52 pm

    I’m hearing you, loud & clear, Neil! 🙂

  31. armchair opinionator permalink
    October 2, 2013 10:01 pm

    nicely droll neil 🙂

    The only difference with brandis and joyce is the selective application of the minchin protocol. Slipper offered to pay back a more measly $900.00 and he was not allowed to do so.
    Some nameless person referred the matter to the AFP to investigate – wonder if that was Brandis QC?
    I’m hoping someone will refer B & J to the AFP, just to make things interesting and to see if they are treated the same way. The Libs gave no quarter & showed no mercy over the last three years, they should expect to receive the same in return.

    http://nofibs.com.au/2013/07/04/a-familiar-afp-smell-over-slipper-and-ashby/

  32. egg permalink
    October 2, 2013 10:06 pm

    ‘The Libs gave no quarter & showed no mercy over the last three years, they should expect to receive the same in return.’

    Agreed, when the Opposition eventually gets their act together we expect them to put the boot in. That’s what we pay them for.

  33. October 3, 2013 11:54 am

    And this is the fucking *Attorney*-General…
    A bit like having Mr. Baldy or similar overseeing the Royal Commission into Institutional Paedophilia.
    A disgrace.
    Should be a two-strike rule for these leeches. Second strike of misappropriating Commonwealth funds for personal pleasure or benefit, and you’re out.

  34. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    October 3, 2013 4:44 pm

    I saw a photo of the woman Michael Smith married. She seems nice.

  35. Neil of Sydney permalink
    October 3, 2013 5:56 pm

    Should be a two-strike rule for these leeches.

    I think you will find the rules are loose.

    I think this could be called rorting the system.

    Just before Simon Crean retires he does this

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/07/10/mps-taking-your-tax-dollars-with-them-on-overseas-sojourns/

    Simon Crean is heading to Europe on a taxpayer-funded “study” jaunt which may include cooking lessons. Crikey intern Fergus Hunter looks at the rules on MP travel and picks out some highlights. Soon-to-be-ex Labor MP Simon Crean is in the news this morning after jetting off on a taxpayer-funded study trip to Europe with his wife. The trip — which comes after a sojourn to Cambodia in May, also with his wife — could include Italian cooking lessons and a trip to Venice.”

    Hasn’t broken any rules but is this a good use of taxpayers money since he is retiring??

  36. TB Queensland permalink
    October 3, 2013 6:11 pm

    Should be a two-strike rule for these leeches.

    Why two? You must think they’re speshul … INSTANT dismissal! Like the rest of us!

    And, Kneel … study tours have been flaunted for years … no report … no value … just more dribbling in the trough …

    There was a case a few years ago of a pollie cutting and pasting bits for his report … so add plagiarism to the rort …

  37. Neil of Sydney permalink
    October 3, 2013 10:09 pm

    “And, Kneel … study tours have been flaunted for years … no report … no value … just more dribbling in the trough …”

    Yes but what to do about it??

    “There was a case a few years ago of a pollie cutting and pasting bits for his report “

    I think that was Craig Thomson.

  38. October 4, 2013 7:30 am

    “There was a case a few years ago of a pollie cutting and pasting bits for his report “

    No that was Miglo…

  39. Walrus permalink
    October 4, 2013 10:10 am

    LOL @ reb

  40. Walrus permalink
    October 4, 2013 10:13 am

    I seem to remember a certain Julia Gillard attending a staff members wedding in Qld at taxpayers expense because she booked a few appointments around it to “sanitise” it.

    Why no mention of that ?

    Having said that Brandis and Joyce are idiots for thinking it was OK for the taxpayer to pick up the tab

  41. TB Queensland permalink
    October 4, 2013 10:34 am

    … she booked a few appointments around it to “sanitise” it.</i?

    Yeah, that's a classic "ploy" for some business people to make a claim on tax too, Wally … but you'd know all about that? Wouldn't you? Being a CPA* an' all? 🙄 😆 🙄

    The Leightons revelations are going to cause serious repercussions (already have on the market!0 … and ASIC/AFP are both looking really stupid if you include the Four Corners program about RBA bribery this week!

  42. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    October 4, 2013 10:40 am

    Interesting, Leightons have just taken control of one of the preferred NBN contractors, these reports may cause a bit of a problem for their continued involvement too.

  43. armchair opinionator permalink
    October 4, 2013 11:01 am

    Yeah, that’s a classic “ploy” for some business people to make a claim on tax too, Wally … but you’d know all about that? Wouldn’t you? Being a CPA* an’ all?

    that’s the way they roll in business and in government, creative accounting + self regulation which is basically “you decide for yourself if it’s wrong”

    abbott did the same with his book tour, he created a couple of engagements to attend and promoted battlelines courtesy of the taxpayer.

    Once you have a taste for never having to pay your own way, it’s easy to believe everything you do is work related, even volunteer or charity work.

    The Leightons revelations are going to cause serious repercussions…

    I can’t understand why rudd did not have a RC and ensure prosecutions, you can bet the libs would have done so were it labor in power when it happened. They should have snared the AWB players, downer, that national party trade minister of the time and howard himself – there were so many “I can’t recall” answers that they were a laughing stock.

  44. TB Queensland permalink
    October 4, 2013 11:24 am

    KL, I think that’s why alot of us now see the ALP as no better than the LibNits …

    Also explains why we bag the ALP as much as the LibNits … and not the other way round … 😉

  45. October 7, 2013 2:09 pm

    Former Howard government Minister Peter Reith says there should be “no limits” to MP’s taxpayer funded travel “entitlements”…

    ”I think it’s ridiculous putting limits on where ministers can go” he said.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/expenses-scandal-spreads-20131006-2v2jh.html

  46. Neil of Sydney permalink
    October 7, 2013 9:45 pm

    For anybody wondering why Peter Slipper appears to be treated differently this sentence may explain why

    http://www.theage.com.au/act-news/peter-slipper-faces-trial-in-december-20130523-2k2f3.html?skin=text-only

    Police say Mr Slipper claimed the journeys as parliamentary entitlements by falsifying information on the cards to disguise the true nature of the outings.

  47. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    October 8, 2013 11:32 am

    Re travel expenses – on a personal basis, if I go to a party in Sydney it’s likely that I’ll arrange some business meetings on the Friday or Monday and claim airfares.

    I so there most weeks anyway, so it seems reasonable to schedule the trips to coincide with my personal commitments. Is there anything wrong with this?

    If politicians are riding bikes around visiting the community (or driving) I’m not too bothered about paying for their expenses. Getting out into the community is part of the job.

    If they are stupid enough to go to a private function without book ending it with some legitimate work, then they are such idiots that they deserve to pay back double.

  48. armchair opinionator permalink
    October 11, 2013 12:46 pm

    Re travel expenses – on a personal basis, if I go to a party in Sydney it’s likely that I’ll arrange some business meetings on the Friday or Monday and claim airfares.

    Do you arrange them specifically so that you don’t have to fork out the cost of airfares for your own personal social/sporting expenses? If so, not ethical or moral. If you have to fly a week apart to attend business and social things, that is what you have to do. Your social life IS seperate from your business life and should be kept separate.

    Abbott is a serial offender at this, he is careful to ‘arrange’ some community event or meeting especially to claim TA, it is not genuine at all. He did the same with his book promotion and paid the money back…eventually, when it was aired in the media. It is simply a fraud on the taxpayer. TA does it with all his personal sporting choices.
    What has not been made an issue of in the media is why those LNP MPs [joyce, bishop etc] accepted a financial gift [travel] from gina rinehart for the indian wedding. Isn’t this a conflict of interest when they will be repealing legislation that will benefit mining companies? What does rinehart expect in return?

    Abbott owns rort problems:

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/abbott-owns-rort-problems-20131008-2v6kl.html

  49. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    October 11, 2013 2:07 pm

    I have no sense that arranging a business meeting in Sydney to coincide with my personal activities is dodgy at all.

    If I have a little discression about the timing of my business meetings, they’ll always be arranged around my personal preferences. I’ll defer something for a week, to ensure I’m travelling on the convenient Friday.

    It’s sensible.

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