This morning I met my Senior Political Consultant and he advised that the Abbott administration has to take control of the Narrative which is currently bogged down on the issue of claims for expenses.
At the same briefing my senior Government Finances Consultant advised that the ALP in addition to 300B of debt has locked in tens of billions of contracts for the NBN and other items like six years of unfunded super liabilities which will continue to cause grief for a decade or more.
Their point is that the Joes and Josephines in the street are more moved to outrage by a few hundred dollars of dodgy expenses claims than by tens or hundreds of billions of waste.
The advice is to move decisively to stop the rot, apologize and pay back, and put in place a system that is rort-proof, like a flat fee for all expenses, no questions asked but no additional claims to be made.
Then with the petty cash under control, move on with the real task of renovating the nation.
With any luck the situation is not as bad as the UK in recent times.
Public outrage was caused by disclosure of widespread actual and alleged misuse of the permitted allowances and expenses claimed by Members of Parliament (MPs), following failed attempts by parliament to prevent disclosure under Freedom of Information legislation. The scandal aroused widespread anger among the UK public against MPs and a loss of confidence in politics. It resulted in a large number of resignations, sackings, de-selections and retirement announcements, together with public apologies and the repayment of expenses. Several members or former members of the House of Commons, and members of the House of Lords, were prosecuted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment. The scandal also created pressure for political reform extending well beyond the issue of expenses and led to the Parliament elected in 2005 being referred to as the ‘Rotten Parliament’.