Bert van Manen

It’s not just our politicians on the bludge

Politicians the world over just cannot help themselves helping themselves to our taxpayer cash, especially when it benefits them directly.

We have seen Paul Foster-Bell, Claudette Hauiti and now David Cunliffe trough it up on travel.

We see the two main parties working out better ways to avail themselves for more entitlements.

Politicians, wherever they are from, become afflicted with entitleitis…they even use the same justifications.

The ”age of entitlement” is over, according to Treasurer Joe Hockey, but politicians continue to spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on flights to sporting events, study tours, recipe collections and children’s books – such as Aliens in Underpants Save the World.

Department of Finance records show rising Liberal Party MP Jamie Briggs claimed almost $11,000 in entitlements over two years for travel to and from sporting events. For most of this period, November 2011 to November 2013, Mr Briggs was chairman of the Coalition’s government waste committee, established to highlight the mismanagement of taxpayer money.

His entitlement claims included:

■ $2800 last November for him and a family member to travel between Adelaide and Melbourne, where they attended Derby Day in the Emirates marquee.

■ $1600 last June to travel between Adelaide and Melbourne, where he attended an AFL game as a guest of BHP.

■ $2300 in December 2012 to travel between Adelaide and Sydney, where he attended the Australian Open as a guest of Golf Australia.

Mr Briggs said: ”Each trip was undertaken within the entitlement rules and publicly declared as required. They included meetings with a range of people related to my work as a federal member of Parliament.”

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Kevin Rudd’s Queensland gamble looks shot

Kevin Rudd shoulder tapped former Queensland premier Peter Beattie in order to bolster Labor’s flagging support in the state. Unfortunately it looks like the gamble has failed.

Labor’s shock decision to recruit Peter Beattie as its candidate for the federal Queensland electorate of Forde appears to have backfired spectacularly, with the Coalition on track to win the seat in a landslide, The Australian Financial Review reports.

Forde is one of eight marginal seats polled by JWS Research, the results of which will be published exclusively in Saturday’s AFR Weekend.

The poll of four Labor marginal seats and four Coalition marginal seats around the country was conducted using the names of the respective major party candidates in each seat, ensuring maximum accuracy.