The media really are going to extraordinary lengths to get Australian politicians implicated in the kind of expense account rorts that are battering the reputation of politicians in the United Kingdom. Yesterday we had Glenn Milne in the News Limited Sunday tabloids saying how terrible it was that the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Jan McLucas, spends far more time in Canberra where she claims a $200 a day living allowance than she spends in her listed home of Cairns. The suggestion is that she is somehow ripping off the public purse but the waste of the taxpayer's money would actually occur if she flew home every week to Queensland.
For the round trip cost of $2710 - yes that is an outrageous sum but blame Qantas for that ripoff not Senator McLucas - she can spend 13 nights a week in Canberra. She, like any sensible person, can see little point in flying back and forth the thousands of kilometres to north Queensland unnecessarily when you end up spending nearly as much of the weekend in aeoplanes and airports as you do at home base. The surprise to me is that more ministers and parliamentary secretaries do not follow her example, especially those from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and North Queensland. Living primarily in Canberra, as Paul Keating did when he was Treasurer, would make them more efficient ministers and save us all money.