ABC News Breakfast was banging on and on about the old news of Tony Abbott’s travel expense claims in respect of a number of community sporting events. There was absolutely no new news today.
There was even a ridiculous chart put up, with Mark Dreyfus’ repaid amount in red. The fact is that there have been thousands of dollars paid back – some $7000 by Tony Bourke – but these figures were not in the chart, the purpose of which was to blacken the name of Tony Abbott.
But here’s the thing – Tony Abbott likes physical activity (and these community events are no doubt boosted by his presence) and other politicians like slap-up corporate lunches with the best wines and expensive foods.
Why isn’t the media going crazy about politicians flying around the country to attend these slap-up lunches while claiming TA along the way? It is just a matter of different tastes – no difference in principle.
And as for attendance at major sporting events, AFL Grand Final, NRL Grand Final, Tests, Grand Prix, Melbourne Cup, etc. – I would have thought that there was an expectation that our political leaders attend these events.
In the case of some of our previous leaders, such attendance was a real chore – eg. PJK at the football; he looked as though he would have preferred to be pulling wings off flies – but, for others, such attendance is a real joy.
And when it comes to a bit of hyprocrisy, recall Tim Mathieson going bunta about Tony Abbott’s inclusion in an invitation to a Richmond v Collingwood game? Didn’t everyone know who he was – Timbo, that is.
I guess one of the issues is that there is a blur between recompensing expenses to parliamentarians as opposed to politicians. We can all go along with the former but the latter is pretty opaque.
Another point: It was the Labor government that failed to act on the recommendations of the Belcher Report.