So Sarah Hanson-Young (who received 8992 first preference votes in South Australia last election and just scrapped in as the last of the 12 senators of South Australia to receive a quota after 452 counts) has a massive sense of entitlement.
She went on a holiday – whale watching – with her child and some staff and decided the taxpayer should pick up the tab. After all, Senators in all their glory are working all the time, and there is no business that is not senate business and therefore (according to SHY logic) 100% of her time is official business time, even when on holidays.
So the $3556 trip with a chartered plane was a non issue with SHY. Why shouldn’t the taxpayer pay? She deserves it and anyhow her child needs to be looked after and shown the wonders of the sea.
Then came some criticism from the media – oh they must be old white men. No young woman would criticise SHY for using taxpayers’ money for looking after a child surely?
So the playbook was followed. First, deflect – it is only dirty old white men who should be ignored. Then work up outrage – how dare someone criticise me for what is a normal entitlement. It is within Parliamentary entitlements after all. Then show no sense of guilt – be bold and continue to assert that it is not only reasonable but somehow she was saving the taxpayer some money. Try to gain sympathy by talking about the sick child – although I’m not sure how that is relevant because most working mothers would take carers leave to look after their child and not expect their employer to fund a holiday.
No wonder people are so sick of politicians and their double speak and sense of entitlement.
Perhaps the solution is to provide each member of parliament with an absolutely fixed travel budget (say $20,000 per annum including all trips to Canberra for Parliamentary sittings) and then report each year on what it is actually spent on. Leave it to the voters to decide whether their representative has the good judgement to spend the money on useful things rather than holidays.