George Brandis

Is Attorney-General George Brandis the biggest “lying rodent” in government given his recent fraud and theft?

The newly appointed Attorney-General George Brandis was caught ripping off the tax payer to attend the wedding of former radio host and current blogger Michael Smith. It is worth looking at what happened in the background, the attack on Prime Minister Tony Abbott by Michael Smith and why this story will not die until Mr Brandis is either sacked or resigns.

Background

Last Sunday (29/9/13) the SMH reported that government ministers, Liberal Senator George Brandis and National Senator Barnaby Joyce, claimed expenses from the tax payer to attend the wedding of Michael Smith in 2011. Senator Brandis denied any wrong doing but paid back $1683.06 on the same day of the news report and after it starting going viral on social media. Senator Joyce also denied any wrong doing but paid back $650 the following day (30/9/13).

Michael Smith went on the front foot immediately and started defending his mates using his blog Michael Smith News. This is the same Michael Smith who used his blog on the 8th July 2013 (2 months before the federal election) to attack Tony Abbott over false expense claims.

Michael Smith’s missile attack on Tony Abbott

On the 8th July Michael Smith wrote a post titled “The protocols for politicians (but not bank tellers) to pay back wrongfully claimed money.” which was aimed at Tony Abbott. Mr Abbott’s travel claims from 2010 where he repaid $9000 was starting to get a run in the media again.

Mr Smith said in the post: “It involves Tony Abbott’s travel claims, the protocol under which Federal Parliamentarians can pay back money to avoid further action after wrongful claims, and Tony Abbott’s publicity tour to promote his book Battlelines.”

and “You’ll have your own view about this – mine is that on the face of it, this is appalling. It will blunt Tony Abbott’s attack on Labor for its clearly corrupt behaviours and it will add to the public perception that the gravy train is alive and well for those in the know.”

and “Peter Slipper has been subject to some scrutiny about travel claims too. Some of his claims were not dealt with under the protocol, they went to the Australian Federal Police.” (Click here to read the post)

Mr Smith is implying Tony Abbott is corrupt and suggesting that maybe it should be referred to the federal police given his comment about Peter Slipper. I do not have a problem with what Michael Smith wrote about Tony Abbott but I found this rather odd coming from Smith given he is a coalition supporter and it was only a matter of months before the federal election. Maybe he is a Malcolm Turnbull supporter. It also shows hypocrisy by Michael Smith when it comes to George Brandis and Barnaby Joyce which is main relevance to this post.

Tony Abbott claimed $9000 for travel to promote his book Battlelines and paid it back. He said “My office inadvertently booked some travel as official, which should not have been booked that way. It’s been fully dealt with.” On the 9th of July 2013 Andrew Bolt wrote a post in response to another journalist:

“Note the selective targetting, given Climate Change Minister Tony Burke made 15 separate repayments involving family travel, totalling nearly $7000, and Julia Gillard made 10 repayments totalling $438 for taxi fares she said were “inadvertently” claimed by a family member. Labor Senator Trish Crossin repaid $3022 while her Queensland colleague, Kirstin Livermore, made 10 repayments totalling $3642.” (Click here to read more) This helps put it in perspective.

George Brandis and the fraud and theft

George Brandis was always going to get plenty of airtime on this site given he is now the Attorney-General and has oversight for the federal courts. How can we have a chief lawmaker who is a fraudster and thief.

“Senator Brandis has confirmed he claimed nearly $1,700 on flights, accommodation and a hire car, but says he attended the wedding primarily for work purposes.”

He told Fairfax that he used the wedding as an opportunity to collaborate with Smith over his work covering the Health Services Union scandal involving former MP Craig Thomson.”  (Click here to read more)

Senator Barnaby Joyce also ripped off the tax payer $650 for the use of a commonwealth car (Comcar) but did not claim for flights and accommodation.

Michael Smith’s pathetic defence of George Brandis

There is no excuse or justification for George Brandis claiming government expenses to attend a wedding. Any defence of it is pathetic. Michael Smith immediately went on the defence once the story broke last Sunday.

He started off writing a post titled “According to Fairfax a politicians expenses in meeting with journalists are not work-related expenses” attacking the Fairfax report.

Smith wrote “The crux of Fairfax’s story is that a member of the Federal Parliament should not be reimbursed expenses for meeting with, travelling to see, or any other travelling expenses associated with attending on journalists.”

“I would like to know how many parliamentary expense claims have been approved for out of state attendees on Q and A, Lateline, or any of a range of other TV or radio shows or interviews with journalists/magazines/receivers of leaks.”

“If I was going on a fishing trip with my mates like Barnaby and that got charged to the taxpayer, I’d be aghast and shocked. That would be wrong. But those blokes were at my wedding in a representative role and they did not demur in any way from their paid elected role as prominent Federal Parliamentarians whose every action was being scrutinised and reported by the some of the large number of journalists who were present. Some of the guests were tweeting about what George and Barnaby were doing. I don’t fill out their expense claims but I don’t think the circumstances of either man’s claim is unreasonable.” (Click here to read the post)

Smith went on to write a number of other posts supporting Brandis and Joyce. The same day that Brandis refunded the stolen money (29/9/13) Michael Smith posted a copy of Brandis’s letter to the Department of Finance which one assumes he received directly from Brandis. (Click here to read)

Again on the same day (29/9/13) Smith wrote: “My wedding was on the 4th of December, 2011. Here is a link to Barnaby Joyce’s expense statements for the period. Here’s his Travel Allowance – no claim for that weekend – he paid his own bills.” (Click here to readThe next day (30/9/13) Barnaby Joyce repaid $650 for the Comcar he claimed.

Smith wrote numerous other posts as well and told Crikey:

“Smith — who has hounded union officials, including Craig Thomson, for allegedly misappropriating members’ funds — says Brandis’ expenses claim was an innocent mistake and there is a grey area when it comes to what politicians can and cannot claim as work-related travel.”

“Does it display incompetence? Does it display dishonesty? Does it display a slap-dash approach? I don’t see any of that on the evidence,” Smith told Crikey.” (Click here to read more)

So Smith says it is “grey area” when it comes to claiming the attendance of a wedding as a government expense.

Why didn’t Smith call George Brandis and Barnaby Joyce corrupt like he did Tony Abbott?

Michael Smith seems to have stuck his nose in internal Liberal Party politics given his attack on Tony Abbott a few months before the federal election. Whether or not this is the case it would not have gone unnoticed by the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott.

From memory, at around the same time Brandis and Joyce did audio interviews on Michael Smith’s site. So people in the Liberal Party would have been scratching their heads trying to work out what was going on. They would have been asking themselves, why did Smith attack Abbott so hard and why are Brandis and Joyce continuing to support his site.

Brandis’s previous form is not good as far as loyalty to the leader is concerned. “Under the Howard government, Brandis was a Costello-for-PM man, one of the group determined to make Peter prime minister. They never came close to their goal.” (Click her to read more) As it is, some in the Liberal Party do not like or trust Brandis given he was also accused of calling former Prime Minister John Howard a “lying rodent” is 2004 and  they would be wondering about his loyalty to Tony Abbott.

Where the Brandis / Joyce media story came from no one knows, but it makes me wonder if the Brandis expense theft was leaked to the media from someone in the Liberal Party given Mr Brandis would have his enemies in the party.

George Brandis’s career as Attorney-General is over

As Attorney-General George Brandis will be expected to comment on the Craig Thomson and Peter Slipper fraud cases and every time he does people will be thinking he is just as bad. He will become a ball and chain on the government that they do not need.

Either Brandis resigns or Tony Abbott has no choice but to sack him. There is no embarrassment for Abbott in sacking Brandis. John Howard sacked plenty.

Update: (7/10/13) Tony Abbott claimed $600 to attend Peter Slipper’s wedding

Prime Minister Tony Abbott claimed more than $600 of taxpayer money to attend Peter Slipper’s wedding in 2006 – a claim he has reimbursed in the wake of the past week’s scandals.

An emotional Mr Slipper responded to the news, saying that while other MPs had been allowed to repay errant expense claims, the charges brought against him had ”destroyed his life”.

Speaking to reporters in Bali on Monday, Mr Abbott mentioned discovering that he had billed taxpayers for a “couple” of weddings.

Fairfax Media understands the two weddings were those of his former colleagues Sophie Mirabella and Mr Slipper (Click here to read more)

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66 Comments on “Is Attorney-General George Brandis the biggest “lying rodent” in government given his recent fraud and theft?”

  1. fidopuss October 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    This is hardly grand larceny, Shane, given the way the Labor Party has dudded taxpayers over the past several years! As a member of a taxpaying family, I’d be willing to excuse these piddling amounts as “errors” or “errors of judgement” by staff handling travel arrangements! The amounts repaid were hardly going to bring any of these fellows into penury!

    • Shane Dowling October 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

      Slipper is facing criminal charges over $900 and so he should. Brandis is the attorney-general whose ethics and honesty should not be in question.

    • Maz October 6, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

      ditto ‘fidopuss’

  2. boadica2 October 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    I find all these accusations very worrying. We have only just got rid of one of the most allegedly corrupt and lying Prime Minister’s who was accompanied by a plethora of undesirables. From what I have read the Attorney General has paid back the funds inappropriately claimed. The item relating to the PM is previously unknown to me. However, I feel that if you dig you can always come up with something that will upset somebody.
    The country is heaving a sigh of relief to have a new regime in power. The Coalition has enough to put up with, with the ABC forever besmirching them, and the majority of the media following suit. Hopefully the country can give support to the new government, whilst the old pay for their misdemeanours, which are legendary. What about the AWU scandal, Thompson, Williamson, Slipper, Obeid just to mention a few characters. Also I believe Rudd spent approximately $32,000 odd just phoning people to support him prior to polling day. Is that within the rules? Of the two political parties – Coalition and the ALP, I still feel safer with the Coalition. However, time will tell.

  3. Con Dassos October 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Why don’t we insist that all Members of State & Federal Parliament undertake a ‘small group ‘ ethics course run by one of country’s Universities and insist that they become “re-accredited” every three years….. in fact make it mandatory before being able to take a seat in government.
    Without such education, there are no public evaluated standards of ethics….just one’s own….whatever that may be.

    Con

    • Allan October 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Why not instead accept that the rules for expense claims are misty and possibly contradictory and work to have them amended or completely rewritten so that there is no ambiguity and can be no claim of ambiguity.

      Those that have had expenses questioned or refused appear to have repaid the costs involved and the Commonwealth is not out of pocket as a result.

      Let us not get into the Slipper case as there is much involved that we just don’t know about. Also, let us not get into labeling Brandis, or anyone else, a thief, a fraud or a rodent lest we appear to be immature and know not of what we speak.

  4. Glenn October 6, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Comment deleted as off topic of post

  5. nottwistedyet October 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    It seems to me, that the blame, if any, lies in the ridiculous sytem.
    Apparently one files a claim and sees what happens. Then, when it is not being allowed, one pays the money back.

    The monies should not be paid, unless the expenditure is approved,BEFORE the occasion/event.

    It is quite apparent, that somebody has to take charge and set down some proper guidelines, as after all they are using tax-payer monies.
    The appearance at the Q and A programs should be paid by the ABC, which is also of course tax-payer funds,therefore they should be told to change their stacked audiences
    etc.etc. and perhaps they should ask some other people.
    If the tax-payer has to pay a fortune to see these MP’s, perhaps we rather see somebody ese?

    • Hans Henry October 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

      As long as lawyers and barristers are allowed to become politicians we unfortunately will have to accept this kind of behavior. We should not be surprised at all, after all ripping off people for as much as possible is perfectly acceptable and normal for them.

  6. nottwistedyet October 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    After giving this some further thought, I have to say that in this article, I find the words ‘thief’ and ‘fraud’ unjust.

    As I wrote in my previous comment, the way I read it, this is the way the system works, not going into it further I cannot see, why so many amounts have been paid back by all sides of politics, if the sytem worked better.

    Therefore I think that at this stage the words aforementioned are not applicable.

    Then I ask the question, why is it, that this matter, which has gone on for years, is now all of a sudden brought to the fore?
    Why not during the election, after all, the new government was only elected three weeks ago.
    Something very strange, it seems to me.

    Ms Gillard and her mates Swan and Wong took a RAAF plane to the wedding of a friendnot so long ago, I believe.
    Mr Rudd took a huge plane with if I recall correctly 20 Press and his wife to Afghanistan
    at a cost of $ 800,000 for a photo-opportunity.
    Mr Rudd took an RAAF plane to fly from Sydney to Brisbane for a cooking-show and a private engagement, then flew in another RAAF plane to Canberra.

    Three occasions which would have cost more than ordinary people would spend in a few days on transport.
    There are a lot of unanswered questions here, before I would start to name people and call them names.

  7. Brian Richard Allen (@Brian_R_Allen) October 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    Lost me at: ‘… (Mr) Brandis “was caught ripping off the tax payer” to attend the wedding of … Michael Smith …’

    What a bunch of hyperbolic rubbish.

    Mr Brandis made reasonable claims for reimbursement of travel expenses.

    Rather than enter a dispute with those other presumably-reasonable men Mr Brandis repaid the amount involved.

    And that, reasonably, is that.

    Brian Richard Allen

    • Paul October 7, 2013 at 8:06 am #

      I can think of no possible way to spin Michael Smith’s wedding as a political expense that should be funded by the taxpayer. I can’t even see how the “mistake” could be made.

    • ester October 7, 2013 at 11:43 am #

      Open your eyes…… We are govern by crooks

  8. monacarbi October 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    Are these claims submitted by staff or by the claimant his or her self?
    If submitted by staff, I can understand there being confusion

  9. Con Dassos October 6, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Reimbursable Government business travel expenses to go to a wedding ? Who got married ? :D

    • Brian Richard Allen (@Brian_R_Allen) October 7, 2013 at 2:09 am #

      …. Reimbursable Government business travel expenses to go to a wedding ? Who got married ? :D ….

      In the case of RecidivistjuLiar’s wedding, to which she commandeered an Eighty-Million Dollar RAAF oil-sheikh-fleet spiv kite and supporting establishment and infrastructure, to Byron Bay, for (if the cost of the fleet is properly amortized in the calculation – about Two Hundred Thousand Dollars) one of her aparatchiks married one of Wayne Swan’s.

      We haven’t yet seen the ALPABC’s Goebbels Gangsters clamoring after that particular reimbursement!

      And may never.

  10. had enough October 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    It took 6 years for the media to discover Gillard had to pay back 4,500 because she let Tim use the govt car to travel the countryside selling shampoos and this only came out after Gillard left, this is a witch hunt it happened in 2006 why now ?Why only the Libs are they targeting ?

  11. Suse October 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    I would imagine that it is the staff of the MP’s who handle these claims and the guidelines and interpretations so obviously unclear you could put these errors down to miscommunication, misunderstanding or errors of judgement but I would not use the words “Theft” or Fraud”. Slipper’s case I believe is quite different whereas he deliberately signed blank vouchers knowing full well the implications and Craig Thomson used the HSU credit card paid for from unions fees from underpaid workers for brothels, holidays, family travel and cash advances totalling tens of thousands of dollars. As nottwistedyet mentions Gillard, Rudd, Wong and Swan have wasted far more for far less. Rudd and Gillard both used millions of taxpayer funds for campaigning and got away with it because they had either not named the actual election date or in Gillard’s case the tactic used was that the date was so many months in the future that it came under governing of which we all know no governing occurred from the day she named the date From the day Rudd ousted Gillard he was campaigning with full page ads in newspapers about the boat problem . Everyone knew that the Labor party was broke with Rudd even asking for donations from the public for election campaigning so he used the guise of governing to campaign until the very last minute. That is far more deceptive to the Australian taxpayers than anything Brandis, Joyce or Abbott has done. The Australian public are just starting to breath easy knowing that the wasteful, incompetent Labor government has come to and end and we can relax and get on with our life knowing that the country is in capable hands again but the MSM, the unbelievably Biased ABC and some other lefty journos just can’t put the majorities interest above their own leftist agendas so they go a digging making mountains out of Molehills!

    • Shane Dowling October 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      So fraud and theft is OK as long as it is less then the other side of politics. If you give someone an inch they will take a mile.

      • Brian Richard Allen (@Brian_R_Allen) October 7, 2013 at 2:18 am #

        …. So fraud and theft is OK as long as it is less then the other side of politics – NOT! ….

        I’m with you, Shane. But the real political fraud is that there are no term limits – including in the public service and among the Canberra press corps and in all fields and branches of public life way too cozy relationships exist among the nincompoops from every camp who “own” operate and control Canberra.

        And the reality is they all cover one another’s backs while looting, rorting and laundering, pretty much to their hearts’ content!

  12. ivan October 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    There has to be a better system of expense reimbursements. . otherwise innocent persons can be deemed crooks due to a genuine mistake. These sort of mistakes happen in the corporate world too and people are not sacked, but just asked to repay the money. The system of having a reimbursement approval prior to the expense being incurred is a good solution here worthy of recommendation
    I am a little suspicious here of attacks on the new PM.
    Surely the attackers should be continuing with identification of any fraud committed by the 2 immediately preceding PMs

  13. DISGUSTED October 6, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    HOW DARE YOU CALL THE AG A LYING RODENT.
    THIS ARTICLE IS PURE SPITE AGAINST MICHAEL SMITH.

    • Paul October 7, 2013 at 8:03 am #

      Upset enough to use caps lock. I bet you loved this site when it was telling you what you wanted to hear.

    • ester October 7, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      kkkkkkk who is Michael Smith ????? another cozy friend of Liberals….

  14. Anika October 6, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    I think this is a problem for us tax-payers and politicians who do not have clear legislation on what they can claim and what they can’t. Shouldn’t the public servants who approve/disapprove claims do the right thing from the beginning. They should have rejected the claims the instance they received them or made further enquiries before approving. The system is wrong. I think a Senate committee should look into this and fix up the loopholes. If you lifted the scab you will find every Parliamentarian is a “thief” in Shane’s world.

  15. Adrian Jackson October 6, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Lets hope that Tony Abbott also puts a stop to the overseas taxpayer junkets by MP’s: particularly retiring and defeated Senators before there term ends on 30 Jun 14

  16. Con Dassos October 6, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Everyone’s opinion has some validity ( mine too, I hope) but we are limited in our expertise as to “the nature of the human being.”

    It should not surprise anyone that deep inside many is a ‘desire to achieve what they think is survival’, even by doing wrong. Look at ‘certain’ NSW politicians in the media of late.

    I cannot see how you can clarify the rules to an extent that they won’t be misused. If there is a way to do it…..there are experts out there advising how to bend them.

    It really comes down to the SELF. It needs to be taught. You’re not born with it.

    Ask a psychologist what the answer is, they will have some solutions as many are now part of the backbone of big ( & I do mean big) business. Ethics courses would be a useful start if not an excellent example by government to the populace.

  17. Rodney Jackson October 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    For my money, these politicians are so overpaid they should pay their own fares and then submit claims for reimbursement. This then should be scrutinized closely and if the claim is legitimate, repay them then.

    • Tim McLeod (@thekidguru) October 6, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

      I don’t really agree they are overpaid, but I am all for paying up front and claiming reimbursement. It might make them think twice, but probably not. Who really cares anyway it’s an insignificant outlay in the scheme of things – the private sector takes huge advantage of “work related” travel, one of the perks of working hard and getting up the ladder, and politics is arguably the biggest ladder there is..

  18. andrewk October 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    They all do it… rules need to change and be checked by auditors

  19. glen October 6, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    Seems to me that the staff of these pollys need to get their act together and they should be made accountable for these errors if they are as stated. I also wonder if Brandis is going to follow up with the Slipper and Thomson frauds as well and get police to keep these investigations going. (Moderator: Both Slipper and Thomson have been charged by the police)

    • terry October 6, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

      Glen, In my opinion Thomson should be pursued, and Slipper. The Thomson case seems clear cut. In the case of Slipper, should he be convicted, for an offence involving $900, it should follow that those mentioned in Shane’s post, should come under the same scrutiny. The law is supposed to treat us all equally.

  20. terry October 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    Funny how politicians only pay back when they are caught, and their excuse is always “I thought”. Both sides love the honey pot, and suck it all they can.

  21. Ken Taylor October 6, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    There needs to be a change in the way that the claims are processed. If the office staff are submitting the claims for their respective employer then they must have the reason why the claim is being made, and the receipts for the expense. If the Pollie is submitting the claim with out any assistance, they know the rules and they are quite aware if their claim is legitimate or not. I spent 30 years in public service and one of the first things I was taught by our executive accountant was how to do a claim and what was permissible to be claimed for. I never once made a false claim during my career. If need be I could always check if my claims were permitted or not be for submission. So can a Pollie or their staff.

  22. Paul October 7, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    So, by Brandis’s standards, I can claim a work deduction for a trip to Bermuda if I at least talk about work while lying around the pool. That’s how I read this.

    • Gary H October 7, 2013 at 8:42 am #

      This post seems to have brought a few defenders of the Liberal party out of the closet…..if you need an ethics class to know what is proper to claim, then the politicians pig trough is no place to start learning. No ordinary working folk would try this on in their workplace… Brandis is an A Grade politician taking all that he can while he can….. good luck AG.

      • fidopuss October 7, 2013 at 10:19 am #

        I don’t know about anyone else’s politics, Gary, but I’ve never hidden in any closet! I’m Liberal to the core, and proud of it, but if I thought Brandis, Joyce or any other politician was genuinely dishonest, I’d shout it from the rooftops! In this instance, I don’t believe that to be the case, so I won’t be throwing any stones!

  23. Allan Usherwood October 7, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    It would appear that Brandis and Abbott are flavour of the week with all these accusations, but I think it would be better to clear up all the real corruption that seems to go out of favour. Allan from Myalup WA.

    • ivan October 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      Attacking the Liberal Party members takes the eye off the Labour scoundrells who have ripped off far more . . or so I think.

  24. Jonde October 7, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    Many politicians are grossly overpaid for their low-level abilities, therefore taxpayers are not receiving value for money. The salaries received will easily allow politicians to spend their own money on anything they want which is not governmental. Any one of them are not stupid enough to not know the difference between private business and government business, are they…….so the flimsy excuses are as transparent as cling-film. Whether a little or a lot, stealing is just that, so how do we, Keep The Bastards Honest.

  25. Jenny October 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    All the media has done since the Coalition won the election is condemn Abbott and his team at every opportunity. Why doesn’t the media report on the AWU Slush Fund Scandal? why doesn’t the media report on Labor MP’s incorrect use of Taxpayer funded cars? why doesn’t the media report on Rudd’s use of the plane to fly to a cooking show? why doesn’t the media report on the supposed wrongs of both sides of politics? As for Michael Smith – I have nothing but the greatest admiration for Michael as his investigative journalism iis first class – he leaves the main media for dead in this regard. Also his MichaelSmithNews site and blog are read by hundreds of thousands of readers and supporters, and I can’t wait to see justice prevail, with regards to the AWU Slush Fund Scandal.

    • nottwistedyet October 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      Yes, it would be interesting to know why Gillard had to repay $ 100.000. as was in the Oz’s article in 2011!!
      (Moderator – Where is the link? There was no $100,000 paid back by Gillard that I can find)

    • glen October 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      Yes Jenny , the Labor party just seem to be playing games re these paltry expense claims so as to get less focus on the AWU slush fund/prostitute debacle.

  26. curious October 7, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Politicians need to be aware of keeping their snouts clean. Soon as they misappropriate $2 their integrity is undermined to call the truth. A Thief calling another Thief a Crook just does’nt work

  27. Adrian Jackson October 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    Moderator – Deleted as off topic

  28. Adrian Jackson October 7, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Thats a 20 year plus old photo of the Senator. Check out the goofie looking 1980’s glasses

  29. ivan October 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    I hope that one does not escape justice . . . seems all quiet on the JG matter of 20 years ago

  30. Shane Dowling October 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Tony Abbott claimed $600 to attend Peter Slipper’s wedding

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott claimed more than $600 of taxpayer money to attend Peter Slipper’s wedding in 2006 – a claim he has reimbursed in the wake of the past week’s scandals.

    An emotional Mr Slipper responded to the news, saying that while other MPs had been allowed to repay errant expense claims, the charges brought against him had ”destroyed his life”.

    Speaking to reporters in Bali on Monday, Mr Abbott mentioned discovering that he had billed taxpayers for a “couple” of weddings.

    Fairfax Media understands the two weddings were those of his former colleagues Sophie Mirabella and Mr Slipper

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-claimed-600-to-attend-peter-slippers-wedding-20131007-2v3yg.html#ixzz2h0vPrI8Q

    • Paul October 9, 2013 at 8:42 am #

      A difference being missed generally is that Slipper actively took steps to hide the real nature of his expenditures and claims, which indicates that he knew exactly what he was doing. Its a bit rich for him to be claiming some sort of persecuted martyr identity now.

      • terry October 10, 2013 at 1:44 am #

        Paul, your suggestion that Slipper knew that his actions were deceitful, does not excuse other Parliamentarians who made claims, that have been proven to be false. Deceit is deceit. If you think all the others made their claims in good faith, you must believe in fairies. If Slipper had accepted Brough’s endorsement, in the seat of Fisher and stepped aside, this matter would not be before the courts. While he was a Lib, Labor pointed the finger. When he accepted the Speakership and became an Independent, the Libs pointed the finger. They are all rorters, but Slipper is the meat in the sandwich.

  31. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka October 7, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    The lawmakers CROOKS who pursue pensioners on overpayment but are stealing the same pensions from their paid taxes.

  32. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka October 7, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    There appear to be in my view some misconceptions by some of the posters. As Shane correctly puts it they must be of an integrity beyond question. It is not the amount but the fact they claimed monies. I cannot see how attending a wedding could have been justified to claim travel expenses unless the government had specifically appointed the politicians to attend on its behalf, as a government representative. It should be understood that their only expenditure claim can be justified if it is incurred to their constituents. If we were to add all the fraudulent claims together this may be not in thousands or tens of thousands but if not billions then in many millions of dollars.

  33. curious October 7, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    If they get simple travel expenses wrong than how many other things are they stuffing up! Surely they are aware of being bribed and know how to prevent being bribed? Maybe Not. Keep the Bastards honest Shane

  34. Boney M October 7, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    The wedding expense scandals are terrible but if we boycott everyone then we are in for another four years out in the cold. Even Abbott did it! At least this is in the open. If it were Labor they would be sending the AFP to make people shut up or else. I say give the Liberals a chance because Labor were corrupt through and through. If the Liberals become corrupt like Labor then by all means give them hell.

  35. Peeved October 9, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    MORE disharmony in the top ranks. How exciting. Does this mean this corrupt lot of evils will also get the flick? I cannot Wait. They all need to learn a lesson about Integrity, ethics, morals and principles. Never in my life time have I witnessed such disgusting lot of lying thieving retaliative vindictive criminals. Rid the lot and get back to square one – What is a Politician? How and why they are there? How many tiers of Government are there suppose to be? and who collects the Taxes which they are all fingering? The people of Aus should stop accepting all this as normal.

    • Rodney Jackson October 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      Total agreement. Rid the country of all the thieving immoral mongrels, then hold another election where none of the present people in politics are allowed to nominate. We might then be able to forget about party politics and things like, “You can have my votes if I fail”, First past the post wins.

  36. Con Dassos October 9, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Any chance us bloggers can come up with useful ideas to prevent ‘inappropriate claims for government related self incurred expenses’.
    It doesn’t sit well reading blogs that proclaim personal insult to the person or the party or blogs that show there is vengeance out there. Remember the old saying: ” before seeking revenge, first dig two graves”.

    Suggestion:
    1. the ethics certificate/diploma
    2. the regular reaccreditation of the above
    3. limit ALL expenses to a budget of $X per year per politician on whatever expense they feel the need to engage in…whatever…the limit is in place though.

    Then they can keep it or spend it; but limit it, with CPI rises of course. :)

    This way they will think very carefully before spending it. Maybe we should reaffirm their role as employees of the Government, not a individuals running a business for their shareholders.

    Any comments??

    • Ivan October 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

      It’s a nightmare, even in businesses. How many professionals attend “conferences” overseas ? Where saving money is involved, politicians are like business persons . . will claim what they can ‘get away with’
      Best way is to give them an expense account limit based on previous 5-6 years records for similar positions
      The only additions are the Official Trips to do totally within their portfolio or committees. Even this would need some modification when members change portfolios and committee memberships.

    • nottwistedyet October 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

      Individuals running a business for shareholders, will ensure that every cent is accounted for in a proper manner. No way would they be allowed to run the system we seem to have!

      • Con Dassos October 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

        :'( it’s ok , I know you can’t be serious about businesses and “proper manner”.
        Although I respect your point of view , let’s stay on the issue at hand.

    • terry October 10, 2013 at 2:34 am #

      I think Alan Fels has put the best suggestion forward. And why should the public only find out about some of these expenses years after they occur? It’s taxpayers money, we all pay tax, GST.

      Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chief Allan Fels called for more transparency.
      ”The big point I think is that all expenses of that kind should be put on their website straight away and on a couple of other Government websites so anyone can look immediately see what’s been spent and claimed,” he told ABC News 24.
      ”I think that would self-police, to a huge extent.”

  37. nottwistedyet October 9, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    (Moderator – This part deleted as I did not understand it.)

    Personally I would like to have one month, in which the politicians and public servants have a chance to repay any mistakes they may have made.

    Then the figures are made public.

    After that for starters all costs are paid first, then reimbursed, as appropriate.

    I also seems to me, that costs such as Air-travel should be discussed with the Airlines and special fares established as they seem to pay an awful lot, first class and/or business class should only be used on long flights. Flights of up to three hours, should be economy, other than for The Prime minister and some other exceptions.
    .
    Some rules should be instituted, as presently it seems to be a free-for-all.

    It also looks Mr Dreyfus although repaying $ 466-00 apparenly owes a lot more, the whole trip with wife and another person at leat total of $ 2.900. The ex-attorney-general, does not know the rules? Seems not all truth there.

    Just like to add, that every three months all entitlements should be made public, that way, we may be able to get a bit of clarity and more thoughtful reimbursements.

    In a way, i can understand some people claiming for a wedding, we used to have a business and we were often asked to attend the wedding of an employee, which was of course an honour to be asked, but it becomes a difficult engagement, as one usually does not know another soul at these weddings and it becomes a very awkward occasion.
    Hard to judge!

    • Shane Dowling October 9, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

      So the ex attorney-general (Mark Dreyfus) should know the rules but the current one (George Brandis) should not need to going on the comments that you have made previously.

  38. Con Dassos October 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia. 13-10-13

    Hon Tony Abbott
    Prime Minister of Australia

    Dear Mr Abbott,

    The expenses issue that has dogged the news in the last month is definitely going to be a chronic poison for all political parties, Liberal first, unless you take the antidote soon. There is not much time before the damage will be irreversible.

    I earnestly ask you to take advantage of opportunity given to YOU to address this problem and find a solution, please do not gloss over it, we Australians can see right through any spin that you or more likely any political party (selfish) spin doctors are whispering in your ear right now!

    Solutions Mr Abbott, not inaction.

    Yours faithfully,

    Con Dassos

  39. R.Heley October 15, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    What about Wayne Swan when acting PM taking his daughter to the AFL Grandfinal in Melbourne at a cost of $12000.00 and then the next day going to the NRL final in NSW on RAAF aircraft.
    Makes the Liberals fees look like small change. What about all the expenses Tim Mathison incurred while Julia was PM?

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