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Abbott-era MPs: ‘leaners’ on the public payroll

Case for Federal ICAC
Conflicts of Interest | Liberal Party | LNP | QED
Liberal Party
Liberal National Party

Abbott-era MPs: ‘leaners’ on the public payroll

2016 – ongoing

More than 40% of the Abbott-era MPs who left politics were appointed to government jobs. “It basically means they are giving favours to their friends.” – Monash University senior law lecturer Dr Yee-Fui Ng.

Crikey‘s investigation has revealed that while many MPs found rich corporate pickings, far more found fruitful careers on the public purse.

Of more than 120 Coalition MPs and senators elected or serving in the 44th Parliament, 57 have since left politics either by losing their seat, losing preselection or retiring (WA MP Don Randall passed away in 2015). Of those, 26 were able to secure a new job at taxpayers’ expense.

Seven landed diplomatic positions while four were appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. But as Crikey reports, most ended up in the wide range of board positions available to governments: Warren Truss is head of the Australian Rail Track Corporation; Louise Markus chairs the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; Michael Ronaldson went to Australia Post and Snowy Hydro; Fiona Scott and Ewen Jones to the National Film and Sound Archive; Jamie Briggs to Moorebank Intermodal; and Tony Abbott himself was appointed to the Australian War Memorial Council in 2019.

As Crikey noted: “All governments appoint former members to diplomatic roles and boards, but this government treated public office as a retirement gift.”

Read more.

Andrew Robb’s $880k China consultancy started day before 2016 election

What's a rort?

Conflicts of Interest

Redirecting funding to pet hobbies; offering jobs to the boys without a proper tender process; secretly bankrolling candidates in elections; taking up private sector jobs in apparent breach of parliament’s code of ethics, the list goes on.

Deceptive Conduct

Claiming that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down when the facts clearly show otherwise; breaking the law on responding to FoI requests; reneging on promised legislation; claiming credit for legislation that doesn’t exist; accepting donations that breach rules. You get the drift of what behaviour this category captures.

Election Rorts

In the months before the last election, the Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money on grants for sports, community safety, rural development programs and more. Many of these grants were disproportionally awarded to marginal seats, with limited oversight and even less accountability.

Dubious Travel Claims

Ministerial business that just happens to coincide with a grand final or a concert; electorate business that must be conducted in prime tourist locations, or at the same time as party fundraisers. All above board, maybe, but does it really pass the pub test? Or does it just reinforce the fact that politicians take the public for mugs?

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