Is it time for Ley to quit?

I would be perfectly happy for Sussan Ley to quit as Health Minister.  She has achieved nothing as Health Minister apart from setting up review upon review stuffed with the rent-seekers she should be taking on.

She seems much happier announcing the spending of additional billions of dollars (OPM) on subsidised drugs (thank god all those drug addicts can now be treated at close to zero cost to them for Hep C – that’s a good use of taxpayer money) or some fancy new health facility.

Never mind that there is no serious analysis undertaken about the cost-benefit of most of this additional spending.  The dollars through at headspace, the youth mental health outfit, for example, are very difficult to justify with the evaluations pointing to very minimal impacts and very high unit costs.  But the government just keeps throwing more money at the initiative because of some powerful and persuasive psychiatrists.

And how has the government got on with its response to Mediscare?  Absolutely nowhere and no doubt the Turnbull government will be picked off again at the next election.

But let’s face it, her story about just deciding to buy an $795,000 apartment on the spur of the moment with her husband conveniently in tow (courtesy of the taxpayer) just doesn’t add up.  This would have all be lined up and designed to suit her official travel arrangements.

But here’s the rub: why did she have to travel to Brisbane to make the announcement on whatever; she should have made the announcement in Canberra and be done with it.  All that stakeholder consultation blah is just politics; it’s not about government.

Given that she has been a complete waste of space as Health Minister, Turnbull should use her lack of judgement on this matter as the rationale for moving her on.  Just about anyone would be better in this portfolio than her.

Here’s the story:

FEDERAL Health Minister Sussan Ley charged taxpayers thousands of dollars for a trip to Queensland with her husband during which she bought a $795,000 Gold Coast investment property.

Government documents reveal in May 2015, after announcing at Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital $1.3 billion in funding to list new medicines and vaccines, Ms Ley went to the affluent suburb of Main Beach.

She billed taxpayers $370 on her travel allowance to stay the night on the Gold Coast with her partner, on the same day she bought the ocean-view apartment.

Ms Ley confirmed to the Herald Sun the property was bought during the trip, which she declared was for “official business”.

She said the apartment purchase “was not planned nor anticipated”.

All travel undertaken was in accordance with the rules,” a spokeswoman for Ms Ley said. (Actually, the rules suck.)

Ms Ley’s office would not confirm whether the investment property had been negatively geared.

Her office also refused to say whether $268.30 for chauffeur services, which was also charged to taxpayers, had been used by the couple to travel the 80km to Main Beach.

Ms Ley’s spokeswoman said the couple had travelled to the Gold Coast because the minister had “stakeholders to meet with”.

Ms Ley’s office would not provide the Herald Sun with a list of these people.

Ms Ley’s spokeswoman said the minister’s partner had been invited to accompany her to a function in Sydney the ­previous evening.

“He then travelled with the minister to Queensland under family travel arrangements.

“The EMB (Entitlements Management Branch) was consulted at the time to confirm Ms Ley’s partner’s travel was within the rules,” she said. (OH PLEASE)

One source told the Herald Sun that Ms Ley’s partner negotiated the sale.

In total, the couple claimed a sum of $3949 in flights for the 48-hour trip. (WOW: they could have gone to London!)

A code of conduct states ministers must not use their ­office for private purposes and “due economy is to be observed at all times”.

The Herald Sun recently revealed Ms Ley spent more than $12,000 chartering a private jet to fly to the Gold Coast for a meeting last year.

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117 Responses to Is it time for Ley to quit?

  1. Mique

    +1

    Resign, you trougher.

  2. Baldrick

    Three words:
    Stupid.Fucking.Liberals.

  3. Kvantum

    In general, no real argument- but Judith you of all people know that the PBS is probably the only area of health expenditure that undergoes a vigorous cost-effectiveness analysis as a precondition of funding.

  4. memoryvault

    This would have all be lined up and designed to suit her official travel arrangements.

    I agree with everything you have said, Judith, except for the above quoted sentence.
    Reading between the lines I think it’s blatantly obvious that her “official travel arrangements” were designed to suit the auction, not the other way round.

  5. dauf

    Oh My God, its just soul destroying to see the political ‘entitlement’ brigade we have in Australia. If a third party (lets see One nation perhaps) developed a couple of key policies, they’d romp in some extra electorates:

    1. make all political travel have to pass the ATO rules for tax deductibility like other private business so we don’t have these phantom engagements whenever the polls want to go somewhere for free (like AFL finals etc)

    2. cut salaries to equivalent of the average wage earner (including overtime of course) …that way people who care about the country not themselves (…and politics as a vocation) might be there for a few productive years and move on. Of course, all valid ‘business costs (aligned to ATO guidelines) to be covered by the taxpayer

    3. curtail ongoing support (gold passes, offices and admin support etc) for past politicians once out of office…past PM’s excepted for 5 years; have you ever seen a broke politician once they leave parliament; and stop immediately their silly payment when voted out so they can just to the life outside their bubble

    4. means test any government pension of politicians …’cause i’m feeling mean

    This way, they’ll understand why we all get pissed off and resent seeing them waste money

  6. HRT

    Compare Ley’s facial expression with the photo (and its meaning) of Dick Cheney from about the 12:45 mark:

    https://youtu.be/P_6vDLq64gE

    Probably just coincidence.

  7. Habib

    Dumber than most of the bacteria her department does nothing whatsoever to eradicate.

  8. Ken

    It was an auction sale. But facts get in the way of a good conspiricy story…

  9. Art Vandelay

    Is it time for Ley to quit?

    Yep. And the rest of the assorted incompetents, nanny-statists, cowards and socialists in the Cabinet should follow her.

  10. ABC are reporting the unit was bought off a LNP donor – time to fly away Mrs Ley.

    Sussan Ley bought $800k unit from LNP donor on taxpayer-funded trip
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-06/sussan-ley-bought-unit-from-lnp-donor-on-taxpayer-funded-trip/8166202

  11. Infidel Tiger

    Is it time for Ley to quit?

    First she must be whipped.

  12. Stackja

    Ley should go. Just after BS.

  13. Tel

    She sounds more full of shit with her ridiculous travel explanations than Gillard did with her wedding visits… and that’s a challenging hurdle.

    A few thousand is no big deal in the scheme of things but anyone so blatant and with such disrespect for the taxpayer deserves a quick boot. Mal won’t do it of course and that’s where the disrespect starts… Right at the top.

  14. Garry

    Of course the official line will be that this political maggot with its snout in the public trough was acting within the guidelines. What a grub – spends around $800,00 on a rental property but is too miserable to pay the $3000 it cost the taxpayer for her and her consort to complete the deal. Bullshit! It might pass the guideline test but it sure won’t pass the pub test. Probably not worth Turnbull doing anything about it though – the Libs are headed for the scrapheap regardless while ever he heads up this rabble. No wonder ordinary people have no respect for any sort of government authority or trust any of our institutions. Everyone in authority it seems is corrupt and all covering up for each other.

  15. Snoopy

    Abbott666 is vindicated.

  16. candy

    Truly appalling. What a grasping greedy politician she is.

  17. Bruce of Newcastle

    Is it time for Ley to quit?

    Yep.

    Either she is politically inept in not comprehending the politics and media implications of such an action or she is lying. Both alternatives are damning.

    Ok maybe she just didn’t think before acting, I grant. But that is as damning as the other two explanations.

    Bye bye, love.

    Hey I can think of at least two replacements. There’s a Mr Abbott, who is very sporty, and a Mr Bernardi who is obviously quite talented!

  18. jupes

    Is it time for Ley to quit?

    Of course it is. Just as it is time for Pyne, Payne, Hunt, Morrison and the rest of the incompetent fuckwits that make up the Turnbull cabinet.

    Australia should ask The Donald if he will accept Australia as the USA’s 51st state.

  19. C.L.

    Judith has changed my mind.
    Yes, she should quit.

  20. Robber Baron

    Oh no. The polls…the polls. This isn’t going to poll well. But. Maol has a chance to appear decisive. Will he demand her resignation? Let’s wait and see.

  21. thefrolickingmole

    Screw her, and screw the “intelligence” in a party with a one seat buffer that enables spending like this.
    (ABC so a grain of salt)
    Ms Ley had the fourth highest expenditure during the period of the purchase — from January 1 to June 30, 2015 — including more than $105,000 on charter flights and $11,800 on family travel costs.

    In total, she claimed almost $650,000 over the six-month period.

    Lot of “fit out costs” for pollies offices, what are they made from orphan skins or something?

  22. Just interested

    The trick here is that it’s ‘all within the rules’. What they do is take what are purposefully designed ambiguous rules and play the ambiguities for all they are worth (ambiguity designed so junior public servants don’t have the embarrassment to say ‘no’ too often and to allow the MPs the wiggle room to say ‘it’s within the rules’ giving everyone an easy night).

    There does need to be an express push for these rules to be tightened – a good one would be any travel or activity for any private purpose, however incidental, should mean the entire expenditure is on their dime, not ours; they can then fight with the taxman about whether they can claim a tax deduction.

  23. Entropy

    Abbott has been Health minister before. If he was again it would be all pro choice crap in the papers every effing day.

  24. Entropy

    The irony is as an investment property the travel would be a business expense anyway.

  25. miltonf

    Are there any members of the current federal government that shouldn’t quit? Dutton maybe. Who’s our El Trumpo? Gina R maybe?

  26. Zulu Kilo Die Onuitspeeklike

    Screw her, and screw the “intelligence” in a party with a one seat buffer that enables spending like this.

    “People, we are on a one seat majority. The Labor Party are hoping for a scandal, a resignation, a by – election that leads to a hung Parliament. They will be going through your rubbish bins, looking for any HINT of scandal. Use your brains, F.F.S.”

  27. BrettW

    Prior to her resigning or being sacked Turnbull should get a written promise from Shorten that his MPs or he will do the same.

    Definitely not a good look but did happen before the Bishop helicopter ride. Hopefully a few Labor MP’s have similar type expenses to surface.

    It is always the cover up that is the problem, So far story not making sense : not a planned purchase (simply unbelievable), an auction or bought from a Liberal donor. Auction and Lib donor make it more likely was planned.

    If she claims meeting Gold Coast stakeholders then should be required to prove it as used Govt money to get there. No proof, then have to refund the Comcar to GC, hotel stay GC and taxi ride.

    No doubt the story will change tomorrow.

    The main parties dont comprehend how fed up people are with seeing these rorts.

  28. Maol has a chance to appear decisive..Let’s wait and see.

    I see what you did there.

  29. Andrew

    This is bullshit. As a private sector type, imagine my employer sends me to the DPRV for work. They pay my flights.

    While I’m there it’s absolutely none of their fucking business whether I buy an investment property, cop a happy ending at the Men’s Gallery, or attend the Brisbane BBL match. None.

    Imagine if they rang me up and had that discussion.

    W: We hear you bought an investment property while in the DPRV
    A: Yep.
    W: Um, HR isn’t very happy about this.
    A: Fuck ’em, dirty c***s and lezzos they are.
    W: Um, yes that they are but um they think you should be fired.
    A: Well I won’t be, and they’ll be very well advised to have a day off work the day I get back from the DPRV.

    Well, same deal for Ley. She hasn’t done anything criminal. At least, not on the info in the article.

  30. Some History

    Judith, you might be a little harsh on Susso. We’ve all had impulse buys. There you are waiting in the queue at the supermarket checkout and that bag of Minties or the latest ed of the celebrity magazine (Tom Cruise has grown a fourteenth toe…. got to read that) or a set of Christmas antlers for your dog’s head just scream out to be bought.

    Now there’s Susso working hard for the taxpayer, this time in Queensland. She and her hubby decide one morning, impulsively, “let’s just get the chauffer to drive in direction ‘X’ to get better acquainted with the Gold Coast constituency”…. a work-related trip. And wouldn’t you know, 80km later they found themselves at Main Beach. “Isn’t that where Wonko owns a property?”, asked Susso. “Maybe”, said hubby. “Let’s give him a call; see how he’s doing”. Amid much impulsivity, one thing led to another and, just like those Christmas antlers screaming to be bought, it was Susso’s hubby that capitulated to the $800k apartment “begging for a new owner”. Susso had nothing to do with the “negotiations”. She was sitting in the limo reading work-related literature the whole time. It was all Mr. Ley’s doing…. his impulsivity.

    What’s not to believe?

  31. calli

    Ken
    #2253740, posted on January 6, 2017 at 6:07 pm
    It was an auction sale. But facts get in the way of a good conspiricy story…

    Depends on when the auction was first advertised. And when Ley decided to do her “announcing” in person.

    They’re a couple of facts that would be worth knowing.

  32. jupes

    Well, same deal for Ley. She hasn’t done anything criminal. At least, not on the info in the article.

    Yeah but … as MV pointed out above:

    Reading between the lines I think it’s blatantly obvious that her “official travel arrangements” were designed to suit the auction, not the other way round.

    If she worked for you and she arranged to use company funds for her personal benefit, you would sack her.

  33. calli

    This is bullshit. As a private sector type, imagine my employer sends me to the DPRV for work. They pay my flights.

    The Minister sent herself, Andrew. There’s no employer/employee analogy here.

  34. Crossie

    No wonder ordinary people have no respect for any sort of government authority or trust any of our institutions. Everyone in authority it seems is corrupt and all covering up for each other.

    That’s a very dangerous situation for a country but Labor voters are happy with their spivs and will prevail at the next election.

    Sometimes I think Malcolm was driven more by malice and revenge than vanity when knifing Abbott though I expected the rest of the parliamentary Liberal Party to know that and stop him. Ms Ley demonstrates that the majority of Libs are just another brand of spivs.

    At this point I no longer care, I’m done with them.

  35. memoryvault

    This is bullshit. As a private sector type, imagine my employer sends me to the DPRV for work. They pay my flights.

    No Andrew, your tale doesn’t fit the script. Try this one. Your boss asks you to post a letter. You agree. Next day you phone work and tell them you’ve got to take a few days off. Later it transpires you flew to the Gold Coast to buy a property, AND charged the trip to the company.

    Boss calls you in: “What the fvck makes you think you can charge your trip to the company”:
    You: “Well, I posted your letter while I was there”.

  36. Crossie

    Is it time for Ley to quit?

    Of course it is. Just as it is time for Pyne, Payne, Hunt, Morrison and the rest of the incompetent fuckwits that make up the Turnbull cabinet.

    There they were thinking that in sacking Abbott they got rid of their weakest link not realising that while Abbott was reviled they could hide in plain sight. Once he was gone the media were free to open fire on them.

    Idiots.

  37. Entropy

    Andrew
    #2253819, posted on January 6, 2017 at 7:20 pm
    This is bullshit. As a private sector type, imagine my employer sends me to the DPRV for work. They pay my flights.

    But Ley is not a private s coordinator type. She is spending OPM.
    A public servant cannot take their spouse, child etc with them. A public servant wouldn’t be able to make a detour to the coast. A public servant can’t even stay over at their own expense and nothing additional to the taxpayer if they wanted to. But for some reason for elected public servants it is different.

  38. BrettW

    Andrew,
    Your comparison does not quite work. The company (or taxpayers) sent her to Brisbane. However she then bills the company for additional expenses related to travel to GC and a hotel night whilst the company is paying her salary and she has not taken a day off work (or was it two days).

    Until such time as she gives an account of her “stakeholder” activities it looks like a normal MP rort that is unfortunately so very common. All while the Government is supposed to be working out ways to save money !

    I mean who seriously believes the story about buying a $750,000 apartment whilst casually driving around the GC and with no prior planning. This sort of lack of planning is how we ended up with the NBN ! At least they planned that on a drinks coaster.

    Wasn’t Brendan Nelson and somebody else looking into MP expenses and due to report soon ?

  39. Andrew

    But Ley is not a private s coordinator type. She is spending OPM.
    A public servant cannot take their spouse, child etc with them. A public servant wouldn’t be able to make a detour to the coast. A public servant can’t even stay over at their own expense and nothing additional to the taxpayer if they wanted to. But for some reason for elected public servants it is different.

    Now you’re arguing that she should be fired because the rules should be changed to something else where she CAN’T take her partner. (A reminder: Blabbersac decided to visit the 120 members of her electorate in Lord Howe Is on Thursday afternoon before the 4-day Easter long weekend, and took the drug dealer and their kids.)

  40. Andrew

    Boss calls you in: “What the fvck makes you think you can charge your trip to the company”:
    You: “Well, I posted your letter while I was there”.

    You seem to be alleging that her constituent work did not rise to the level of normal ministerial business that would ordinarily result in a travel budget being approved. There is no evidence for that.

  41. Infidel Tiger

    Let of course should be executed. The only debate necessary is what method.

  42. L inden

    here here, in true Liberal style, and I thought she was supposed to be one of the smart ones! Her CV reads brilliant, so why has she become the complete opposite of what she started out to be?

  43. a reader

    Her electorate is in the far South-Western corner of NSW (like Wentworth). So far as I can tell she had legitimate business that needed to be conducted in South-East Queensland. Who gives a damn if she decides to buy anything during some down time? How many people in business who need to travel set it up to suit their circumstances? You all know the answer is most.

    This is a ridiculous conspiracy theory and the fact that even on the cat we’re worrying about it says volumes for the standard of political discussion in this country. Meanwhile we’re spending 20 gazillion bucks a day on welfare

  44. Andrew

    Yeah but … as MV pointed out above:

    Reading between the lines I think it’s blatantly obvious that her “official travel arrangements” were designed to suit the auction, not the other way round.

    If she worked for you and she arranged to use company funds for her personal benefit, you would sack her.

    I have a fair bit of autonomy about my travel and budget, in a senior role. I can work around a personal benefit as long as the company is not disadvantaged.

    Example: We had not visited a small client in Townsville for years – did the work, they were fairly OK with what was being done.

    I agreed with them that we would schedule a meeting with them for 3pm, which happened to be the day on which a total solar eclipse passed through Cairns early that morning. Work paid for my flight up and flight back, plus a hire car.

    I took half a day of personal leave, caught a 5pm flight to CNS the night before, and paid for my accommodation myself and the petrol. (That said, given the risk of flight delays and cancellations, it would be normal practice for me to fly the night before rather than the day of meeting.)

    We not only had our contract subsequently renewed, but significantly expanded in scope.

    Not only was I NOT fired for what I did, I was paid a bonus (calculated on the new business component)!

    I cleared my travel with a board member. He said “Have a great time.”

    Did I pick a specific day to visit TNS that had a personal motive? Absolutely. Did I conduct personal activity while on the trip? Absolutely. Did I disadvantage the company in any way? Absolutely not – in fact, they significantly benefitted from the trip. Do they know that I am very careful that business travel charged to them is legitimate and in keeping with my duties and that if personal stuff intrudes into business hours I will take the appropriate duration of leave? Yes – in fact they know that I’m by far the most frugal of any person here.

  45. jupes

    You seem to be alleging that her constituent work did not rise to the level of normal ministerial business that would ordinarily result in a travel budget being approved.

    Andy why are you doubling down on the stupid?

    She spent the money YOU paid in tax in order to buy a property.

  46. L inden

    Any mention of Mr Bill Shorten and integrity in same sentence paragraph, well that is an ‘oxymoren’!

  47. jupes

    I took half a day of personal leave , caught a 5pm flight to CNS the night before, and paid for my accommodation myself and the petrol.

    Spot the difference with Ley.

  48. teddy bear

    Andrew the problem is not whether she committed any criminal offense, the problem is it appears she has specifically set up work appointments to coincide with her private travel arrangements.

    As a cabinet minister and specifically the health minister it is very easy for her to set up an appointment anywhere in the country and at any time to meet with someone in her role as health minister. Is she deliberately setting up pointless meetings so she can get free travel wherever she wants?

    Just because it is health related does not mean the trip is necessary, she has a very large job as health minister and if she is setting up appointments here and there to suit her (that while may have some benefit) are not a good use of her time, in such cases then she is deliberately exploiting the system. Considering she is unable to name who she met with it was clearly not a very important meeting and thus a poor use of her time as minister.

  49. L inden

    as Dean Martin once said,one should only not drink and drive, but also not drink and putt, the same goes for typing on a blog site, lol

  50. L inden

    she has got nothing on the asrshole Tony Burke who dumped his misses for his secretary what ever and then carted her around the world on a tax payer funded trip totaling more the $400,ooo and got away with it!

  51. Andrew

    As a cabinet minister and specifically the health minister it is very easy for her to set up an appointment anywhere in the country and at any time to meet with someone in her role as health minister. Is she deliberately setting up pointless meetings so she can get free travel wherever she wants?

    Yes, she may well be. As they all are. As Blabbersac was having a 5-day weekend in Lord Howe. This may well be shit governance, and it may well be a good reason to largely eliminate ministerial travel.

    But that’s not what you people are proposing. You appear to be singling out one minister for dismissal because the Senior Labor Figure has arranged for his office to brief TheirABC against her. Just like we all piled onto Bronwyn Bitchop. If we’re proposing a system in which rules are assigned, and then twice a year an LNP front bencher gets dismissed and run out of Parliament on the whim of the SLF for doing a tenth of what his own people are doing, then I don’t support this arrangement.

  52. BrettW

    jupes
    #2253858, posted on January 6, 2017 at 8:03 pm
    I took half a day of personal leave , caught a 5pm flight to CNS the night before, and paid for my accommodation myself and the petrol.

    Spot the difference with Ley”.

    + 1

  53. BrettW

    Andrew,
    Agree with your last para. Unfortunately this has been going on for years.
    Harms the Government of the day more than the Opposition.
    Both leaders need to sort it out.

  54. teddy bear

    Andrew next thing you will be arguing in support of “study” tours. You have also missed the point again, I will spell it out more clearly. People expect their MP’s and in particular cabinet ministers to be working hard in their roles doing their job to the best of their abilities not setting up fluff meetings to gain free travel or going on “study” tours.

    If you wish to set a low standard for MP’s that is your choice, I for one will not.

  55. candy

    Bronwyn Bishop would feel somewhat aggrieved, that she had to resign whereas it looks as if M. Turnbull does not care.

    Remember when M. Turnbull posed at a train station to indicate that this was the way to travel and not $5000 helicopters!

    The difference is, that the Left media and M. Turnbull were out to get T. Abbott. The media love Malcolm Turnbull because he is a progressive at heart, a cultured gentleman and not a hated redneck, birds of a feather, and won’t drag him into this.

  56. Habib

    But that’s not what you people are proposing. You appear to be singling out one minister for dismissal because the Senior Labor Figure has arranged for his office to brief TheirABC against her. Just like we all piled onto Bronwyn Bitchop.

    No, many are proposing that if any one of these dimwitted timeservers spends 5c of public money on themselves, their inbred and ugly families, their sleazy sponsors, or any of their corrupt interests they be hurled into an active volcano by trebuchet, having been liberally coated with pitchblende.

  57. Andrew, you argument is sound but ignores the key issue – LNP politicians have never gone for the jugular when ALP rorts are exposed because they do much the same.
    A little media tut tutting, sage advice to resign and then let the issue die down whereupon it’s business as usual for both sides of the swamp.
    Ley is not exhibiting leadership. She is just Bishoping herself through the media scrutiny – make error, hide behind lax rules, hope it goes away.

  58. memoryvault

    You seem to be alleging that her constituent work did not rise to the level of normal ministerial business that would ordinarily result in a travel budget being approved. There is no evidence for that.

    And

    Her electorate is in the far South-Western corner of NSW (like Wentworth). So far as I can tell she had legitimate business that needed to be conducted in South-East Queensland.

    Guys, new drugs are added to the PBS every year. That, and inflation, pushes the cost of PBS up every year. Neither fact is particularly newsworthy, and hardly warrants a mention unless one of the new drugs is controversial – like the abortion pill. Usually the department simply puts out a press release with details of the new drugs covered, and the proposed annual expenditure. Not this time though.

    This time, the Minister decided to announce the details personally. Her right, I suppose. But she decided NOT to call a press conference and announce it from her electoral office in Albury. She decided NOT to announce when she returned to Canberra a week or two later. She even decided NOT to announce it in Sydney even though she was going to be there on Friday for some kind of official “do”.

    No, she flew all the way up to Brisbane to make this utterly mundane, trivial, non-newsworthy annual announcement. With her husband. And once there she discovered she was needed down on the Gold Coast. To meet with unspecified “health stakeholders” (vampire killers?) With her husband. Once down on the Gold Coast she “happened to find out” about an auction of an apartment, which she attended. And bought. With her husband.

    If you’re happy with that explanation then you’ll probably have no trouble when they stop bothering with actual elections. Think of the savings.

  59. Andrew

    The difference is, that the Left media and M. Turnbull were out to get T. Abbott. The media love Malcolm Turnbull because he is a progressive at heart, a cultured gentleman and not a hated redneck, birds of a feather, and won’t drag him into this.

    They will. He has already exhausted his usefulness to them and they openly despise him now.

  60. memoryvault

    Meanwhile we’re spending 20 gazillion bucks a day on welfare

    Yeah, I see your point, Reader.
    Why worry about about corrupt politicians when all we have to do is raise the retirement age to 150, euthanise all the cripples, and reintroduce the work-house. That way the politicians can steal as much as they like, and the rest of us will still be alright.

    For a while.

  61. Tel

    You seem to be alleging that her constituent work did not rise to the level of normal ministerial business that would ordinarily result in a travel budget being approved. There is no evidence for that.

    Yeah there’s evidence, item [1]: business of the nature of “stakeholders to meet with” can be done using this new fangled device called a “telephone”. Item [2]: she won’t even say who these people are, so it cannot possibly have been anything particularly important.

    I would be tempted to say that the government has a rolling series of contracts to hire conference rooms around Canberra and a standing rule that just says ALL business gets done over the wire and travel budgets are zero from here on in. Just slam the door shut on this OPM bleeding and end it here.

  62. Andrew

    Guys, new drugs are added to the PBS every year.

    Apparently this was $1.3bn of new spending. For such a large sum (some of which may even be non-wasteful) it is traditional for minister’s to make a big announcement, in a marginal seat. This is how it’s done. Just like the SLF doesn’t announce his $600bn windmill clusterfuck by press-release; he puts on the hard hat and goes to a windfarm in the Geelong area to crap on about “green jerbs.”

    Do I like this arrangement? No. But it is considered part of her job to go to a hospital and Brisbane and announce mammoth spending initiatives there before posing for photo ops. The fact that Peta Cretin (a micro-manager of travel) approved it suggests the PMO agreed.

    That being the case, her boss and her boss’s boss had approved a business trip. She then becomes free to do whateverthefuck she wants in her own time on that trip. She cannot be fired / asked to resign for it.

    Similarly, in recognition of the time spent away from home for work, her package includes N trips for her spouse and kids. I have certainly worked for many CEOs who took their wife and kids on business trips at our expense. I’m very uncomfortable with that, but it’s not been my business either.

    So if her package says she can pick N trips to bring her husband (like Blabbersac did), and she chose to bring him on this one, that’s perfectly fine. As pointed out above, Burq took his kids to Uluru which seemed to have far less to do with official business than announcing $1.3bn of PBS upgrades at a marginal seat hospital in Brisbane.

    There seems to be some allegation that she spent 2 days on what should have been a 1 day (or 3 hour) trip, and that the taxi to Main Beach was not to attend a stakeholder meeting. It seems improbable that Cretin would have approved 2 days for a trip to Brisbane unless there was a series of meetings. If there is stronger evidence of wrongdoing than what has been presented, then we get to the point of her repaying some money. It still doesn’t become a sacking offence.

    St Malcolm should have his list ready, and agree that she should be out – right after the ALP refund Juanita’s trip, Burq’s trip, Blabbersac’s trip ad nauseum, and to the extent the offenders still work there fire them. He should be hammering Blabbersac’s island tour with husband and kids, which was an amount of $12000 rather than this $280.

  63. memoryvault

    But that’s not what you people are proposing. You appear to be singling out one minister for dismissal because the Senior Labor Figure has arranged for his office to brief TheirABC against her. Just like we all piled onto Bronwyn Bitchop.

    Utter BS Andrew. Now you’re making it up as you go along. The Cats have been virtually unanimous in attacking these lying, thieving political scum whenever they have been exposed, regardless of party affiliation.

  64. Tel

    Why worry about about corrupt politicians when all we have to do is raise the retirement age to 150, euthanise all the cripples, and reintroduce the work-house.

    I like the workhouse suggestion. Come to think of it, we could expand on that and insist that all public employees including politicians, judges and senior public servants do a few months each year at random placements in said workhouse to remind them of what everyone else does for a living.

    Seriously though, some sort of trade related work, outside the bubble should be a requirement.

  65. Andrew

    I would be tempted to say that the government has a rolling series of contracts to hire conference rooms around Canberra and a standing rule that just says ALL business gets done over the wire and travel budgets are zero from here on in. Just slam the door shut on this OPM bleeding and end it here.

    I’m sure Parliament House is well equipped with conference rooms and teleconference facilities, for the $2bn we paid for it. In fact, I’ve attended conferences there. They can cram in thousands.

    They would even have some excuse, in that with the SLF refusing a pair, ministers really can’t travel.

    The problem with that is that if you lock up all the ministers, that leaves the opposition free to roam all around the country every day. (At least the ones in the House, who aren’t needed for anything.) They would spend the next 2 years in town halls and photo ops and shopping mall walks and noone will have ever seen a Senior Govt Figure in that time. And the meeja will run the narrative that the govt doesn’t “care about the people” and “won’t get out of its Canberra bubble” and is “out of touch” and “hates the common man.” There will be no narrative about saving the public purse $5-10m. So really, you’re asking the govt to commit suicide.

  66. candy

    He has already exhausted his usefulness to them and they openly despise him now.

    No, Andrew, they love him. He is one of them, in a sense. They know he is pretending for the goals in the long run. Republic, SSM, loosening border protection, all the progressive policies dear to their heart. They simply wait. As well, he is cultured and arty. They really love him for all that.

  67. Random Comment

    Croc feeder and swamp filler-up-er-er

  68. Tel

    The problem with that is that if you lock up all the ministers, that leaves the opposition free to roam all around the country every day. (At least the ones in the House, who aren’t needed for anything.) They would spend the next 2 years in town halls and photo ops and shopping mall walks and noone will have ever seen a Senior Govt Figure in that time.

    Well that’s interesting, so ummmm, how can these guys manage to be so incredibly mobile on zero travel allowance? And if they can do it in opposition, then I suppose they don’t need a travel allowance in government either.

  69. teddy bear

    Andrew you have lost the plot, your second last paragraph makes this obvious. If she has wasted an entire day or 2 on a needless trip that most certainly is a sackable offense, she is the health minister with a very large portfolio vital to government she cannot afford to waste time.

    Just because a system is exploitable does not mean you have to exploit it, she made a choice to exploit the system to her benefit, she made a choice to waste her time to travel there to make an announcement so it coincided with her private travel arrangements. She is obviously not serious about her job so she should be sacked.

  70. .

    I am fairly sure she followed the rules.

    Rorting is part of the system.

  71. Tel

    And the meeja will run the narrative that the govt doesn’t “care about the people” and “won’t get out of its Canberra bubble” and is “out of touch” and “hates the common man.”

    Nothing shows affinity for the common man like shopping around for million dollar investment properties on the Gold Coast.

  72. candy

    Bronwyn Bishop followed the rules too.

  73. jupes

    as Dean Martin once said,one should only not drink and drive, but also not drink and putt, the same goes for typing on a blog site, lol

    Dean Martin never said that one should not drink and type on a blog site. Never.

    I have no doubt he would heartily approve.

  74. memoryvault

    Apparently this was $1.3bn of new spending. For such a large sum (some of which may even be non-wasteful) it is traditional for minister’s to make a big announcement, in a marginal seat.

    Yeah yeah, Andrew. A “marginal seat”. Held by either the Libs or the Nats since its formation, and by a margin of 10% or more. That’s why she made the announcement in another state, one and a half thousand kilometres away. Gotta protect those marginal seats.

    Just for interest, here is last year’s announcement on the same matter.

    Note the following:
    Apparently the PBS is part of Medicare, NOT the Department of Health, so it has SFA to do with the Minister for Health. It comes under the auspices the Department of Human Services. So, not only did Ley have to manufacture a reason to make the announcement in Brisbane, she had to borrow the subject of the announcement from another department and Minister.

  75. .

    candy
    #2253919, posted on January 6, 2017 at 8:54 pm
    Bronwyn Bishop followed the rules too.

    The rules stink. You shouldn’t/don’t have rules that exist but if you follow them to the letter you can still get punished.

  76. Tel

    Bronwyn Bishop followed the rules too.

    No, not really. You see there’s this rule that says, “Don’t ever bring your party into disrepute.”

    It’s a bit vague on the mechanical details, but crystal clear on the intent and very easy to figure out who has broken it. A party that stinks cannot win elections, and thus cannot be a government. Anyone claiming to support their party must also support the reputation and self-respect of the same.

  77. candy

    Dot, I agree. All should be “punished”, but we won’t see that. Because M. Turnbull is favoured by the media and they will never, ever, try to bring down one of his Cabinet.

  78. memoryvault

    No, not really. You see there’s this rule that says,
    “Don’t ever bring your party into disrepute.”

    True, Tel. Also often stated as “Would it pass the pub test”? That is, what would the average working taxpayer think of it in discussion over a few beers on a Friday night? If the answer is likely to be anger, outrage, disgust or disbelief, then don’t do it.

    Pithy statements like “Well, it was within the guidelines” just don’t cut it with Jo Blow Public when the pub test is applied.

  79. Habib

    So really, you’re asking the govt to commit suicide.

    Not that they actually have any, however seppuku would be about the only honourable thing these ditch carp could do at this stage.

  80. King Koala

    Time to end ministerial travel, video conferencing has eliminated the need for it. We have Turnbull’s brand new NBN after all that is supposed to increase productivity by increasing communication or something. Let the pollies set an example by using the damned white elephant.

  81. If Labor want it, it’s politically motivated.

    Either it’s within the rules, or it is not. If it is, end of story. Funny how she defaulted to lying, though. All politicians lie.

  82. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    De Ville apartments sits not far from my pile among other similar high quality buildings at Main Beach, a most peaceful place detached from the bright lights of Surfers and the vibrancy of Broadbeach. They enjoy splendid views to the north over the Broadwater, Sheraton Mirage, Seaworld and Stradbroke Island if you are high enough. I’d be happy to live there for a bit. No I wouldn’t – no garden to wander about with my sunrise coffee … talking to myself … no grudge, no workshop, cannot get out swiftly if that becomes necessary.

    It is just across the road from one of my favored restaurants in Main Beach Surf Club – award winning chef, fine food taken on the first floor deck while you gaze out over the Coral Sea, just marvelous.

    I have no idea what $800,000 buys there however I do know there are lots of the same product in that locale, which is about to suffer from its age vis-à-vis the modern apartment monoliths under construction along the strip. A lifetime around property has taught me that there are way better use types to put one’s money than in residential investment. The fact that tenants are afforded additional rights under two additional pieces of legislation (residential tenancies and strata title) each with their own dedicated government department is sufficient to give it low priority.

    I agreed with C.L.’s initial comment in the Open Forum that there was nothing to get excited about and gave it no more thought. However Judith Sloan has since pointed out that Ley is a talent free drongo on the job, is profligate with taxpayers’ money ($0.650 m expenses in 6 months in a domestic portfolio!) and, as things have transpired, has made it possible for Memoryvault at 5:51 pm to suggest, accurately:

    This would have all be lined up and designed to suit her official travel arrangements.

    I agree with everything you have said, Judith, except for the above quoted sentence.
    Reading between the lines I think it’s blatantly obvious that her “official travel arrangements” were designed to suit the auction, not the other way round.”

    She is an utter dill for attracting attention in the same manner as Bronwyn Bishop did (for just a couple of thousand dollars for Pete’s sake!), giving the media and Labor a free kick; and now I see she is a liar, making up the details as she goes. She’s as thick as two short planks, just like her small but perfectly formed boss (except for his oversized scone).

  83. Olaf

    Classy comments on hepatitis C treatment for drug addicts.
    As someone who, from time to time, is exposed to these types of patients in the operating theatre, I thank god/the stars/the drugs that this disease is eradicable.
    More evidence that economists should just stick to inaccurate prognostications about the economy.

  84. Zulu Kilo Die Onuitspeeklike

    I agree with everything you have said, Judith, except for the above quoted sentence.
    Reading between the lines I think it’s blatantly obvious that her “official travel arrangements” were designed to suit the auction, not the other way round.”

    I’m taking Memory Vault’s point but yes, Susan Ley has given the Labor Party a massive free kick, and, with a one seat majority, the Libs don’t want to give any of those away.

  85. JC

    Well that’s interesting, so ummmm, how can these guys manage to be so incredibly mobile on zero travel allowance? And if they can do it in opposition, then I suppose they don’t need a travel allowance in government either.

    It’s a summer story, Tel. In three weeks time no one will recall what this was about. But more to the point what has she actually done wrong? A genius upthread seems to believe that her uselessness as a minister makes her somehow guilty of a crime.

  86. JC

    Judith

    Ley should be fired, but not for buying a vacation home. She should be getting the boot because she bought one where she did. The Gold Coast? How tacky.

    Hey, but look over there. Ley actually bought an apartment.

    Meanwhile

    I can’t understand why Labor’s indefensible, possible illegal, use of taxpayers’ money to fund the 2014 election campaign in Victoria hasn’t got more traction in the press.

  87. Mother Lode

    The Jewish-Roman historian, Josephus, recounts an anecdote where the Emperor Tiberius explains to provincials imploring him to appoint new governors – the current ones being so grasping.

    A great number of flies came about the sore places of a man that had been wounded; upon which one of the standers-by pitied the man’s misfortune, and, thinking he was not able to drive those flies away himself, was going to drive them away for him; but he prayed him to let them alone: the other, by way of reply, asked him the reason of such a preposterous proceeding, in preventing relief from his present misery; to which he answered,If thou drivest these flies away, thou wilt hurt me worse; for, as these are already full of my blood, they do not crowd about me, nor pain me so much as before, but are somewhat more remiss, while the fresh ones that come almost famished, and find me quite tired down already, will be my destruction.

    Sadly, I think those flies who see themselves as our rulers are never satiated and the current flies, bloated and glutted as they are, are still as hungry as the fresh ones.

  88. Jo Smyth

    All her co Ministers should stand beside her and resign in sympathy, except Peter Dutton.

  89. Tel

    A genius upthread seems to believe that her uselessness as a minister makes her somehow guilty of a crime.

    No one is accusing her of any crime. No one really wants people dragged away in chains for incompetence, regardless of how tempting that might be from time to time.

    The problem remains that she gets paid a lot of money to be Minister, and the two fundamental parts of that jobs are making quality decisions (in the national interest), and maintaining a decent public image and reputation. Since she has proven unable to do either part of the job the only conclusion is that she shouldn’t be a Minister. That’s Turnbull’s “Captain call” and if bums on seats are the only thing that makes a government, then a backbench seat is as good as any other.

  90. Dr Faustus

    Apparently this was $1.3bn of new spending. For such a large sum (some of which may even be non-wasteful) it is traditional for minister’s to make a big announcement, in a marginal seat.

    Indeed.

    But the Wesley Hospital is located in Auchenflower, in the seat of Ryan – which is not marginal.
    The LNP incumbent, Jane Prentice, holds the seat comfortably with a 9% margin.

    I think we can all agree that Ley’s scruples are right up there with Plibersek, Burke – and every other thief who doesn’t see any harm in taking the odd few $k out of the petty cash tin.

  91. john constantine

    Their susan is making up a quota, if she should have to step down then their weaponised wymynsys will be able to attack the tories for their lack of women.

    Imagine if the Abbottbeast had done the same thing.

  92. Tracey

    We can whinge ’til the cows come home but she is correct in saying it is ‘within the rules’ (and we all know the moral right or wrong never enters their heads). It would be nice if, failing the complete overhaul of these rules, we could at least be spared the insult of funding travel for their spouses, kids and various hangers-on.

  93. Habib

    Unfortunately the rules are looser than Hanson Young’s grip on reality, and will never be tightened as both sides are infested with fatuous fops, with a sense of entitlement and smug superiority to the peons that’d make the House of Bourbon look like egalitarian philantropists. We’re well past tumbrill time.

  94. Deplorable

    Here is another reason not to trust her .
    “SUSSAN LEY CONTINUES TIM FISCHER’S PRO-PALESTINIAN TRADITION

    Sussan Ley, the Liberal Member for Farrer, continued the one-sided tradition of criticism of Israel expressed by her predecessor, former member for Farrer, former Deputy PM Tim Fischer.

    … Ley, who is the Liberal co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Palestine, spoke of her recent visit to Israel as “ten days in the occupied West Bank.”

    Ley met with leaders of the Palestinian Authority, but did not meet any representatives of Israel, leaders, members of the Knesset or diplomats.

    She did meet critics of Israeli society- the Israeli Soldiers group-Breaking the silence, and paid tribute to another group of Palestine supporters she described as,“the amazing Rabbi’s for Human Rights.”

    Mr Danby said a bright future for the two peoples will not come through a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian State with an automatic majority of Muslim and Arab supporters at the United Nations General Assembly.”

    It is surely incompatible with the ideals of Australia’s liberal democracy that a member of Parliament would support groups that oppose democracy and fundamental freedoms. It is especially puzzling, considering Ms Ley is a liberated woman, that she favours groups like Hamas and the PA, which oppress their women. While it is pragmatic for MPs whose electorate has a large Islamic population to support the Palestinian narrative, this doesn’t apply to her electorate.

  95. JohnA

    Deplorable #2254564, posted on January 7, 2017, at 3:33 pm

    Here is another reason not to trust her .
    “SUSSAN LEY CONTINUES TIM FISCHER’S PRO-PALESTINIAN TRADITION

    It is surely incompatible with the ideals of Australia’s liberal democracy that a member of Parliament would support groups that oppose democracy and fundamental freedoms. It is especially puzzling, considering Ms Ley is a liberated woman, that she favours groups like Hamas and the PA, which oppress their women. While it is pragmatic for MPs whose electorate has a large Islamic population to support the Palestinian narrative, this doesn’t apply to her electorate.

    It may be pragmatic but if the narrative is false then that politician is definitely “on the wrong side of history”. And any narrative which refuses to countenance the existence of the nation of Israel is false.

    I have already challenged someone in another thread to demonstrate the putative national identity and bona fides of the artificial grouping known as “Palestinians” – a body of people of Arabic descent which did not exist until 1948, which was advised to remain in the midst of the original conflict zone, which CHOSE to stay, and which may not have been assigned “refugee status” (falsely) until after the 1967 Six Day War.

  96. King Koala

    From reddit. Not sure if this is true but if it is then she needs to be investigated, forced to pay everything back, fined for every rort and kicked out of office:

    Explain the 1488 dollars you spent on a coffe machine for your office. when you have no visitors?.
    Explain the 1700 you spent on a office chair.
    Or the 1300 you spent framing a portait in ur office.
    Or the 4500 you billed the taxpayer for new carpet in your office even though it was only redone in 2014.
    Or the 797 dollars you expensed for a weekend at pullman magenta resort?. There is zero reason for a minister to be staying there. You had zero functions to attend yet you billed it as work….Or the 276 dollars a night you expense when ur partner owns the rental unit u stay at
    UPDATE:!! OKAY SHE TRUELY is a corrupt piece of shit.
    She billed a 1800 dollar “FUNCTION” at her house for 8 people. on the taxpayer. i can see no one from the govt attended.
    Claimed a work trip to melbourne with her partner yet never even apparnlty checked into the hotel she expensed

  97. Habib

    Any APS or even moreso ADF member who tried 1/100th of the fiddles these swine brazenly hose us for would quite rightly be on a fizzer, and out of a job. These pricks should be setting an example- they are, but as what a venal, morally bereft lamprey can expect to get away with once they’ve donned enough brown lipstick for pre-selection.

  98. .

    Just pay MPs more and get rid of expense accounts.

  99. Rockdoctor

    Talk with a few blue collar types about this and you find they have had enough of this behavior. Their costs go up every year yet get told you must tighten your belt, do more with less etc… Then they see this sort of opulent behavior on the public purse (don’t worry Labor don’t get off scott free even though downplayed by the media the everyone knows it is across the board even with the socialists on the fringe with 10% of the vote). Also along with the overgenerous perks out of office it is rife all the way down to your local council…

    So what can they do about it, they tell telephone pollsters, newspapers, polling booth workers, the Parties themselves and even the Local members would have heard the complaints. Nothing happens, they couldn’t even get the bill to cut off the Gold Pass through the Senate! Self interest says nothing will happen. There’s a good reason why the welfare bill is rising each year, proud types who I know who would have 10 years ago not been seen dead applying for even Family Tax Benefit are now taking as much as they can get. Cash economy is another sign of the times, getting quote for a cash job usually has a significant saving. Couple this with appearance of inaction of the Government against certain ethnic groups openly rorting the system and viola you get a Kerry Packer type attitude from the rest.

    I don’t necessarily advocate the above but just relaying what I have heard from listening to types from drillers to farm hands and the likes from my extended family who are mostly city based vent… Government debt is approaching half a trillion dollars depending on which figure you believe. Something will have to give but you can bet they will fight tooth & nail to protect their own.

  100. Combine Dave

    Just pay MPs more and get rid of expense accounts.

    FIFY

  101. Habib

    CD+1. Already grossly overpaid. Reward should be based on performance and outcomes. In which case the vast majority of these deadshits would owe us big time.

  102. cynical1

    Fucking disgraceful.

    It’s a “Yes” from me.

  103. Ant

    Wonder how many ocean view apartments I could buy if I could dump all my expenses on taxpayers.

    Sack this leaching waste of space.

  104. Baldrick

    Buying real estate on the taxpayers dime is sooo exhausting.

  105. SavedBySusan

    “…thank god all those drug addicts can now be treated at close to zero cost to them for Hep C – that’s a good use of taxpayer money…”

    What an arsehole comment – not everyone who contracts Hep C is a drug addict. I was infected by tainted blood products in the 70s.

    Susan Ley’s decision to list the new drug on the PBS cured me in six weeks and saved me from an ugly painful death.

    So fuck you.

  106. Andrew

    But the Wesley Hospital is located in Auchenflower, in the seat of Ryan – which is not marginal.
    The LNP incumbent, Jane Prentice, holds the seat comfortably with a 9% margin.

    I’ll check on that in 2 years – I think you’ll find it’s plenty marginal. Lots of Sydney seats swung 10%+. And St Malcolm won’t be recontesting with 97% of the meeja cheering him on as the returning Messiah. It will probably be the hapless Bitchop.

    Anyhow, this game is played for a broader audience than the actual seat the hospital is in.

  107. .

    What an arsehole comment – not everyone who contracts Hep C is a drug addict. I was infected by tainted blood products in the 70s.

    No, the point is that socialised medicine requires prioritising people, and not by their choice.

    What if three people could be cured of cancer if you were not treated? What should the government do? What if their lives could all be extended by 15 years instead? What if you’re only 50? What if ne of those three is a child? What if their lives can be extended by 3 years to 70 years?

    In the free market you could just buy the drug. If you think the price is too expensive, you should note the PBS subsidises the company the government forces to sell them drugs cheaply.

    You have already paid for the treatment many times over your life, you just cannot see the cash flows without lifting the veil of bureaucracy.

  108. EB

    Surely I’m not the only one who is pleased when these rorts are outed – brings them all one step closer to the guillotine.

    In the meantime I’m definitely voting Hanson for comedy and systemic chaos. I want the whole thing to burn.

  109. Tel

    So what can they do about it, they tell telephone pollsters, newspapers, polling booth workers, the Parties themselves and even the Local members would have heard the complaints. Nothing happens, they couldn’t even get the bill to cut off the Gold Pass through the Senate! Self interest says nothing will happen. There’s a good reason why the welfare bill is rising each year, proud types who I know who would have 10 years ago not been seen dead applying for even Family Tax Benefit are now taking as much as they can get. Cash economy is another sign of the times, getting quote for a cash job usually has a significant saving. Couple this with appearance of inaction of the Government against certain ethnic groups openly rorting the system and viola you get a Kerry Packer type attitude from the rest.

    If you want to see the future, look at Greece.

  110. alexnoaholdmate

    Hmm… a poster named SavedBySusan (how droll) pops up out of nowhere – I’ve certainly never seen them before – to leave one driveby post about how Susan Ley is a saint, and then disappears again into the abyss from whence they came.

    Seems rather convenient. Is this a new mutated form of HiAlanism?

  111. Des Deskperson

    ‘Unfortunately the rules are looser than Hanson Young’s grip on reality,’

    I’ve come to this a bit late, having just returned from the NSW South Coast, but I think it important to point out that it’s actually very difficult to develop detailed rules and guidelines that prescribe ethical behaviour in all and any situations.

    What sort of tighter regulation should apply to prevent rorts like Ley’s? Should all MP’s private activity while travelling on official business be proscribed? Clearly unworkable. So how would ‘acceptable’ and ‘non–acceptable’ forms of private activity be described and limited?? Clearly very complex and difficult.

    MPs and indeed all public executives have to be able to make judgements about integrity in a variety of situations on a case by case basis. This clearly requires a fundamental cultural and ethical shift. Without this, more regulation won’t help.

  112. Habib

    I’ve come to this a bit late, having just returned from the NSW South Coast, but I think it important to point out that it’s actually very difficult to develop detailed rules and guidelines that prescribe ethical behaviour in all and any situations.

    Particularly when dealing with fundamentaly unethical and opportunist people.

  113. .

    Right on Alex.

    Surviving Hep C for 38 years (minimum) then being cured in half the usual treatment time?

    I was a little suspicious as well.

    The usual range is 8-24 weeks.

  114. Rockdoctor

    Yup Tel, depressing and no sugar daddy (Germany) to feed the habit, like Greece… Mining won’t bail us this time, production ramping up at the moment especially with BMA & Rio Tinto in Qld but yet to see the same in exploration yet. Australia isn’t unique anymore, too many other places getting into the game with much lower red tape demands and overheads…

  115. Beachside

    Julia Gillard flew to northern NSW on a taxpayer funded VIP jet for a staffer’s wedding

    Ms Gillard, along with Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minister Penny Wong, will today attend the Byron Bay wedding of her press secretary Laura Anderson and Mr Swan’s chief-of-staff Jim Chalmers.

    Her office confirmed the PM flew to northern NSW on a RAAF VIP Challenger aircraft.

    MPs are only entitled to use the RAAF special purpose flights for “commitments associated with their official responsibilities and other purposes including parliamentary business”.

    They cannot be used by any member of parliament for purely personal business, Ms Gillard’s spokesman said. He said Ms Gillard’s attendance at the wedding was [conveniently] sandwiched between official duties scheduled for the weekend in northern NSW, Melbourne and Sydney.

    Mr Swan made his own way to the wedding and did not use a VIP jet. Yesterday, Ms Gillard and local MP Justine Elliot – a Kevin Rudd loyalist – held a press conference at Titenbar at the side of a new stage of the Pacific Highway duplication, which started in October and is not due to be completed until the end of next year. The federal government contributed $560 million to the 17km upgrade.

    H/T Michael Smith

  116. Des Deskperson

    Looks like she’s agreed to pay ‘some’ of the costs of her travel back:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-08/sussan-ley-to-pay-back-cost-of-taxpayer-funded-gold-coast-trips/8168718

    According the now regretful and newly enlightened Minister Ley, “The distinction between public and private business should be as clear as possible when dealing with taxpayers’ money.” She gives no advice on what a useful, workable and practical distinction might look like.

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