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Eric Abetz bills taxpayers $3000 to attend mining industry gala

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Dubious Travel Claims | Liberal Party | QED
Liberal Party

Eric Abetz bills taxpayers $3000 to attend mining industry gala

August 1, 2018

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz billed taxpayers $3000 for domestic return flights from Hobart to Melbourne and a series of Comcars so he and a family member could attend the Australian Mines and Metals Association centenary celebrations, according to Guardian Australia.

Senator Abetz, who has no ministerial connection to mining or industrial relations, said he attended because mining was important to the state of Tasmania and his constituents, and the event was particularly relevant because a Tasmanian company was a founding member of the AMMA. The rules for claiming travel expenses are that claims can only be made where the dominant purpose of the trip is parliamentary business. According to Guardian Australia, the senator flew into Melbourne on the day of the gala dinner, stayed overnight, and left the following day.

Senator Abetz said he was serving the interests of his electorate by attending the gala dinner, described as the “industry’s biggest celebration of 2018”. The event featured performances from the Australian Qantas Children’s Choir and soprano Marina Prior. Former prime minister John Howard gave a headline speech. “Mining is a considerable export for Tasmania. It’s an important part of our economy, stacks of people are employed by it.”

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The Case for a Federal ICAC

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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