Posts Tagged ‘australian federal politics’

Law is a curious creature. It is impassive. It is neutral. And it is this impassive nature that allows it to apply equally to all those under it. Yet it is also this impassivity which can mean problems if the law is ignored, misapplied or corruptly used.

The eligibility crisis in Federal Parliament came about because all too many people decided to ignore the law. Specifically, when signing the relevant forms to stand for election, they happily signed the statement declaring they were eligible under section 44 of the Australian Constitution, without ensuring this was correct.

The likes of Barnaby Joyce simply ignored the requirements of the Constitution. What, Dad was a Kiwi? Nah, won’t apply to me. Malcolm Roberts pulled on his tinfoil hat, decided that he was an Australian and therefore nothing else would apply – presumably the hat was to shield him from dangerous citizenship rays from any other nation. They blatantly ignored the law. (more…)

After we pretty much turned the clock back twenty years last week with Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech in the Senate, the Prime Minister was quick to distance himself and the government from Hanson and the One Nation Party. But following claims from MP George Christensen, we could be forgiven for wondering just how far apart the government and One Nation really are. (more…)

I pitched this piece around the traps but nobody wanted it so here ’tis.

bishopFor a while it seemed impossible to watch or read the news without getting another instalment in the Bronwyn Bishop saga. Many of us breathed a sigh of relief when she finally stood down as Speaker of the House of Representatives. But months later, we should give thanks to Bishop for the significant opportunity she has provided us with. (more…)

What do Ian Macfarlane, Peter Slipper, Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus have in common? Each of stood for election representing a specific party, only to later jump ship. And along the way, each of them has highlighted a significant flaw in our political system. (more…)

After winning the Division of Cook in 2007, a particular new politician fronted up to the Governor General and made his Oath of Office.

Scott MorrissonI, Scott John Morrison, do swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law, in the office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the Commonwealth of Australia, without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God!

Now let us jump forward a few years. (more…)

It is not just our current crop of Federal pollies who are seemingly happy to keep rorting the entitlements system but we also have retired MPs clearly intent on keeping their snouts well and truly stuck in the entitlements trough.

Once an MP or Senator has served a minimum period in office, they qualify for a pretty generous pension scheme. This is a defined benefit scheme. I have also benefited by a defined benefit scheme when I was kicked out of the public service on invalidity. However the MP’s equivalent leaves all other such schemes dead in the water behind them.

First of all they get a base pension of a generous proportion of their MP salary at the time of their leaving office, subject to ongoing indexation. But then the perks come in. It seems you can spend your political career dozing away on the backbenches somewhere and you still get access to additional benefits on top of the base pension. If you have held positions higher than backbench snoozer, you get more additional benefits. This is not just for former Ministers – hold any additional form of office such as Grand Tiddlywinker for an occasional weekend and the benefits keep adding up. And we are not just talking a token extra but often many thousands of dollars more. But trying to unravel what these extras are becomes something of a labyrinth. For example, retired-Prime Ministers have a lifetime public support for them to continue to run a professional office including staff. Then on top of that there is all the air travel. This used to be the unlimited Gold Ticket scheme where ex-pollies got to fly all over the country pretty much at will, all on the public teat. Back in 2002 this scheme was capped at 25 trips a year. In 2012 it was cut back to 10 trips a year. Still a generous handout in my opinion.

At long last, at a time when the Abbott government was telling us we all have to do some ‘heavy lifting,’ the token contribution by MPs was to see the Gold Ticket scrapped. The poor darlings.

Retired MPs have been making noise about cut backs to the scheme for a while now and four of them have now launched a bid in the High Court to not just get their snouts back in the trough but to improve the quality of the swill. Labor’s Barry Cunningham, Tony Lamb and Barry Cohen and Liberal John Moore have gone to the Courts in what seems an absolutely outrageous greedy grab. Their pensions are set at a proportion of former salaries, indexed annually. But that isn’t enough. They want their pensions permanently set at a proportion of what current MPs get. They want all the freebie air travel reinstated. And it is all being challenged as a constitutional matter with the Commonwealth having made ‘an unlawful acquisition of their property’.

In other words, these ex-MPs believe they have a constitutional right to bleed us more and more. But their greed and outrageous behaviour gets worse. According to media reports, they had the phenomenal cheek to apply for financial assistance to fund their greedy grab.

In the wake of the Bronwyn Bishop saga, the stories keep coming out about outrageous travel by current MPs on both sides of the House. And while some Members are gleefully throwing mud, plenty of others are now suddenly going all bi-partisan, trying to keep a lid on just how disgusting their rip-offs have been. And now we have former MPs trying to get in on the act, wanting unfettered access to every buck, every perk and every damn thing they can get their grubby hands on, to the point of thinking that the public should fund their money grab.

Is it any wonder that people simply do not trust politicians as a class?

It is official. The Australian Federal Police have wimped out on the entire Bronwyn Bishop saga and I now have the letter from them to confirm it, with one Commander Jennifer Hurst claiming responsibility. (more…)