10 December 2013
Joyce wedding bells toll for clean-up of MP expenses
The Greens say the latest embarrassment for the Abbott government with another Minister repaying public money spent on wedding travel costs highlights the need for a major clean-up of MP entitlements and online open disclosure.
Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said: “With Minister Barnaby Joyce now caught up in his third wedding expenses scandal involving misuse of public money the Abbott government should move quickly to ensure that details of all MP expenses are readily available in an easy to search online website.
“Enabling the public to be able to quickly and easily access information on how MPs are using public money to carry out their work is the best way to stop these abuses.
“If the Abbott government don’t move quickly to introduce an open and accessible online database they will be dogged by these scandals.
“In the three months since the election this government has had to deal with a rolling series of scandals involving senior Coalition MPs misusing their expenses.
“Labor and the Coalition have colluded for over a decade to expand MP expenses while limiting disclosure.
“The Belcher Review into MP entitlements brought down 39 recommendations. Labor only adopted two, and one of those covered a major salary increase. Since the change of government the best the Coalition has come up with is that they are considering the recommendations.
“The Greens are working for tighter rules and a searchable online database that has details of how MPs spend their allowances and details what allowances they are entitled to.
“We are also advocating for a Commissioner of Integrity. Labor committed to this but failed to deliver when they were in office.
“Also all parliamentary departments should be subject to freedom of information requests. This could be readily accommodated while respecting the special circumstance MPs operate under.
“A clean-up of the ambiguous rules and putting the public spotlight on entitlements would help stop the wedding style abuses that are becoming too frequent,” Senator Rhiannon said.
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