LNP senator Ian Macdonald slammed Mr Abbott for his tardiness after he turned up an hour late to the regular Liberal and National MP meeting yesterday, suggesting Mr Abbott’s priority should be to the party room meeting.
Fairfax is reporting that Mr Abbott told the room that he had to schedule an early morning visit to a cancer research centre in Melbourne to justify billing taxpayers for the trip to Melbourne the night before to attend a private function. Several MPs reported that Mr Abbott described the function to the party room as a ‘fund raiser’.
Mr Abbott talked to a news conference at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre yesterday morning about the Medical Research Future Fund, but did not make any new announcements, simply reiterating the Government’s commitment to the fund which would receive most of the revenue from the proposed $7 GP fee.
The Prime Minister’s office confirmed that Mr Abbott attended a private function in Melbourne on Monday night and that he ran late for the party room meeting after his visit to Melbourne ran over time.
Read more from TheAge.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has declared the age of entitlement over, yet it seems Prime Minister Tony Abbott hasn’t got the message. More rigorous testing and justification of entitlement claims are required for the taxpayers of Australia to have faith that our ministers are not rorting the system.
While no one will argue that Mr Abbott’s visit and news conference at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre wasn’t worthy of a visit to Melbourne, we have to look at the real motives around his taxpayer funded trip. From the outside looking in, it appears as though the private function, described as a ‘fund raiser’, was the key motive for Mr Abbott’s visit.
Mr Abbott is certainly not the first and won’t be the last MP or public servant to book a taxpayer funded trip with ulterior motives in-mind, but we do have to question why we allow this to occur and, how we can make those taking advantage of the system more responsible for the charges which should reasonably fall on their shoulders.
If the age of entitlements is well and truly over like Treasurer Joe Hockey has told the Australian people, then those in charge of our Government should start leading by example.
What do you think? Should Mr Abbott be made to pay for the trip to Melbourne? Do we need to look into the government entitlement claims system?