I have an op-ed in the Australian this morning talking about the expenses scandal:
Most proposed solutions to entitlement abuse involve more disclosure and additional bureaucracy. There is a simpler solution. No entitlements. Pay politicians entirely in salary (and leave). Make it all taxable income, like most other employees.
Managing a constituency is the business of an elected representative. That is what politicians get paid to do – any expenditure incurred in electorate business should then be treated as a work-related deduction on their income tax. The Australian Taxation Office could work out what should be deducted, and what shouldn’t, under the existing standard rules.
To be clear, this proposal relates to the remuneration of being an elected representative, and not to the business of government. Expenditure necessary for the function of government should be paid by the government. No doubt politicians will claim no clear distinction can be drawn between the business of politics and the business of government, but that is just cant.
Every other organisation in the country manages to resolve the difference between legitimate business expenditure and employee remuneration.