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.