Disgraced senators subject to different rules than pensioners

The Government says it’s inequitable to recover disgraced senator's debt.

senator scott ryan

The Federal Government has decided to waive former senator Bob Day’s debt to the nation, after being told Mr Day may not be able to repay his senator salary.

Mr Day resigned in November last year for effectively earning salary from taxpayers as well as collecting rent from them.

In April this year, the High Court ruled that he had held his position and been voting in Parliament illegally for almost two years.

Earlier this year, former senator Rod Culleton was also disqualified from the Senate for being personally responsible for around $6 million in debt owed by a company he owned.

The Senate and Department of Finance pursued Mr Day and Mr Culleton for the repayment of the salaries paid to them during their time in office. This also included the repayment of allowances, money paid to staff and all office costs.

Both men received letters to that effect, informing them that they potentially owed hundreds of thousands of dollars between them.

Mr Day requested that the ‘unfair’ debt be waived. Mr Culleton has been advised by the Special Minister of State, Senator Scott Ryan, that he too has the option to do the same.

Late last week, the Federal Government waived Bob Day’s debt, with Senator Ryan saying the claim may not be fair.

"It may be seen to be inequitable for the Commonwealth to recover the debt, given Mr Day performed his duties as a senator in good faith," said Mr Ryan.

"The [advisory] committee also noted Mr Day's personal financial circumstances."

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says that waiving Mr Day’s debt was “common sense” and a fair outcome.

"I'm sure that Bob Day, he was actually doing a job, he was down here, he was at work … it's not as if he was employed somewhere else, so you know I think it's a fair call," said Mr Joyce.

And Mr Joyce has also advised Mr Culleton to walk the same path as Mr Day.

"Rod Culleton, for all his sins, I think he was genuinely at work and trying to do things – just that he shouldn't have been here in the first place," he said.

"That was a problem, so you've got to have some leniency. They've had a look at it and said, 'look we'll waive it' – well they've offered to him that they'll waive it.

"If I was him, and Rod if you're listening out there, I would reply."

Opinion: Government hypocrisy at its most transparent

The decision to waive Mr Day’s debt is the very definition of hypocrisy – and, again, graphically illustrates a Government rubbing double standards into the face of average Australians.

Imagine that a single mother of three has a sick child on a morning she is expected to show up for a job interview. She can’t make the interview. The Department of Human Services (DHS) is informed and she promptly has her welfare payments discontinued.

Or how about the numerous Australians being ordered to repay debts that are either incorrect, or owed for honest mistakes in reporting?

This is a Government chasing down Australians for owing $20 on a tax return or Centrelink overpayment.

Yet it says that trying to get two politicians to repay salaries and allowances they were paid for a position they illegally held is ‘inequitable’.

Really? Chasing down hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to two questionable politicians is ‘inequitable’?

What a crock.

I’m sorry, but we paid these men a fortune to do a job that they should not have been allowed to do. They have not acted in good faith. It is very difficult to believe that Rod Culleton didn’t know that his company was in debt or that Bob Day didn’t know he was leasing his building to a government department. They have both acted questionably and should be forced to repay at least some of the money the Australian taxpayer has invested in them. That is the standard by which average Australians are judged. Why not the people who are supposed to create and enforce those same laws?

This is a Government hunting down pensioners, low-income families and welfare recipients who can’t rub two pennies together.

I suppose it’s no surprise that, again, the top end is protected while the average Australian is screwed. Someone needs to question this double standard and why our politicians and the wealthy seem to be above the laws which the rest of us are expected to observe.

Do you think that Mr Day and Mr Culleton should repay their salaries? Is the Senate and Finance Department ruling fair? Should our politicians be subject to the same rules as the rest of us? Or are they above the law?

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    COMMENTS

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    JAID
    30th May 2017
    9:38am
    Perhaps there are background issues I know nothing about. As with court decisions I largely accept that those reviewing are better informed than I and that they have the right to make decisions.

    I hope leniency is extended when the work is done or requirement fulfilled and while the intention is good wherever government may find the problem. The amounts involved may be radically different but the $20 or the missed interview is no different. There are notable instances of leniency not being shown but many instances of leniency go unnoticed. Sad that some are caught up unnecessarily while fine-tuning goes on.
    Eddy
    30th May 2017
    1:47pm
    One comparison could be the treatment handed out to Mr Day, Mr Culleton and Ms B. Bishop (not to be confused with Ms Julie Bishop)and the treatment heaped on Mr Slipper. Mr Slipper was hounded with the full force of the law while the other 3 were mildly rebuked. Then look at the thousands of Social Security recipients who have, and are, being hounded by Centrelink's so called Robodebt for what are, in a lot of cases, paltry sums.
    This suggest to me that the government is more concerned with cultivating Mr Day's and Mr Culleton's successors in the Senate, and if it costs writing off a few hundred thousand dollars of taxpayers money the government considers it is money well spent. As for Ms Bishop, she was one of the clique so she had to be looked after.
    If our PM could donate over $1M to the liberal party surely he, or the Liberal Party, can afford to cough up the debts owed my Mr Day and Mr Culleton to the Senate so the taxpayer is not out of pocket.
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    5:37pm
    Always plenty more where that came from, Eddy - don't forget that politicians are daily dealing with billions of dollars so a few miserable hundred thou forgiven to one of their own is nothing...

    Let Jo Bloggs try it on though... for ten bucks owing to the Good Colonel C'Link...
    Anonymous
    31st May 2017
    12:01pm
    Let's just keep it simple - these are crooks helping their own kind!!! Just in case, some day they need the same kindness in return!
    Of course, it's not their money, it's OURS.
    libsareliars
    31st May 2017
    2:01pm
    These people make me sick. It's no wonder they are held in such utter contempt when they carry on about "dole bludgers" and "welfare cheats" and then do something like this. They are thieves and robbers.
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    10:34am
    Perhaps the real question should be if bad behaviour is only applicable to some parties and not others. Should entitlements be and/or pensions be cancelled when you do not belong to a certain party whilst it should be if you belong to another?
    Bronwyn Bishop may have been pushed out of politics but why did she not have her pension cancelled? And why do others who abuse their entitlements have no case to answer other than a rebuke? I can't remember if Bronny had to repay all of her helicopter rides but should have been compelled to do so as a starting point.
    There are rules which appear to be relevant to which Party you belong to. The same behaviours are a minor misdemeanour if you belong to one party whilst being corruption of the worst kind if you are in another.
    Let's call this out for what it is, double standards and dishonesty.
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    11:24am
    MICK, whilst I agree with a part of your comment, I don't agree with your characterisation that only one party gets punished. If you care to itemise the crimes that one party has been punished for and the crimes that another party has had treated as a misdemeanour then we can discuss your allegations further. I'm in NSW and just this week an ex-politician has had bail refused and put in gaol, as has a union leader, for corruption. They join another ex-politician who has benn gaoled for the same offence. There is another ex-politician who is serving time for paedophilia. Are you saying that one side is doing these things and getting away with it?

    I have said here before that the problem with politician's rorts is not that they do it but that they are doing it within guidelines. There is a system in place that allows all of these payments to be made and the watchdogs are not doing their jobs. Politicians of all sides make appointments to meet with interested parties in other cities or states within their areas of responsibility, take 5 minutes to complete the job and then wander about doing whatever they want for as long as they want and put the whole trip down to "work" related expenses.

    It's a safe bet that while they add on extra ways to rort the system that no previous rorts are removed. It is most likely that the expense to stable their horse and groom are still on the statutes. What is needed is for the ATO to be the watchdog. We all did battle each year trying to scab a couple of dollars as a deduction to try and get a tax rebate so why don't politicians get put through the same rigorous process.
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    1:34pm
    I think, Old Man - that Mick is saying that whichever party is in the hot seat labels it the most vile corruption of the other side.. regardless of whether it is Labor or Liberal...

    Apparently the majority in Parliament party gets to call it a crime, whether it is or not.
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    3:25pm
    Perhaps we have read MICK's comments differently, TREBOR. If we read it your way then it is hard to explain why a minister was stood down after being charged with sex offences which resulted in gaol time. Perhaps we should allow MICK to speak for himself?
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    4:12pm
    Just reading down further TREBOR, I think you are being too generous in your interpretation of MICK's comments. Later posts tend to support my theory that MICK has a bias against the Coalition. I know he claims to be unbiased, even totally impartial, but his words tend to belie that position.
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    5:39pm
    Umm - I think he says he doesn't vote for either but picks the eyes out of both when they deserve it.... but he does have a point over the double standard. I forgot the Slipper thing in comparison to certain others... he could have a point...
    inextratime
    30th May 2017
    10:47am
    Mick - Just for the record, BB was beaten in a Liberal Party Pre Selection ballot. She paid back the cost of the ''copter flight plus a fine.
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    10:59am
    I understand that the helicopter flight in question was not the first time. Was she required to pay back the rest?
    At the heart of my post was the understanding that indiscretions are treated differently depending which party you are in.
    Nan Norma
    30th May 2017
    4:48pm
    Yes, she just happened to get caught out on that one.
    Priscilla
    30th May 2017
    10:50am
    All politicians, in fact everyone should be subject to the same rules and penalties. This should apply to dishonest transactions, failure to pay debts, superannuation entitlements and pensions. It would appear that the more money you have the more dishonest you are!
    Phil
    30th May 2017
    10:56am
    I'm not sure hypocrisy is right here. Bob Day and to a lesser extend Rod Culleton turned up and did a job and they where paid for the work they did. Whether they where really eligible to stand for those positions was a matter for the courts.

    A welfare recipient who claimed benefits and where not eligible hasn't done anything that you can suggest would mitigate their responsibility to repay the money which wasn't rightfully theirs.

    As always emotive descriptions are used to try and prove a point but its a stretch to suggest both situations are the same. The Senators fulfilled a job until it was found they should no longer be there. A welfare recipient is just accepting more than they should.
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    11:00am
    And remember they are not in the coalition. I suggest that their 'sins' may have been relegated to minor misdemeanours were they a part of the coalition.
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    4:09pm
    Gee MICK, your bias has popped up once more. Did you read the article where a member of the Coalition, Joyce, has gone in to bat for these guys?
    Patriot
    30th May 2017
    4:17pm
    Old Man
    Just proves the old saying:"Birds of a feather flock together".
    Obviously, no matter what Creed, GREED of Colour
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    9:55pm
    Phil what you failed to acknowledge is that one of these senators was 'trading whilst insolvent'. That is wrong and disqualified him from being a senator. This activity was occurring some time early in his parliamentary career. He can bleat all he likes about not knowing, didn't realise, etc. etc. As an officer holder in a company he owned he should have know. NO IFs, NO BUTs.

    The second has also being saying the same about his breaches of both the criminal and corporate codes that govern our actions in this community.

    Politicians claim they are community leaders and as such need to be held to a higher level of honesty, integrity and good governance. Why? Because that's the way it is. NO IFs, ... NO BUTs.
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    9:55pm
    Phil what you failed to acknowledge is that one of these senators was 'trading whilst insolvent'. That is wrong and disqualified him from being a senator. This activity was occurring some time early in his parliamentary career. He can bleat all he likes about not knowing, didn't realise, etc. etc. As an officer holder in a company he owned he should have know. NO IFs, NO BUTs.

    The second has also being saying the same about his breaches of both the criminal and corporate codes that govern our actions in this community.

    Politicians claim they are community leaders and as such need to be held to a higher level of honesty, integrity and good governance. Why? Because that's the way it is. NO IFs, ... NO BUTs.
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    9:55pm
    Phil what you failed to acknowledge is that one of these senators was 'trading whilst insolvent'. That is wrong and disqualified him from being a senator. This activity was occurring some time early in his parliamentary career. He can bleat all he likes about not knowing, didn't realise, etc. etc. As an officer holder in a company he owned he should have know. NO IFs, NO BUTs.

    The second has also being saying the same about his breaches of both the criminal and corporate codes that govern our actions in this community.

    Politicians claim they are community leaders and as such need to be held to a higher level of honesty, integrity and good governance. Why? Because that's the way it is. NO IFs, ... NO BUTs.
    pixii
    30th May 2017
    11:15am
    These two issues should be no different to an "ordinary citizen" who would have to pay up as I'm having money deducted from my fortnightly age pension for an overpayment to me .
    Also,pensioners can only earn a limited amount before losing their pension payments , but retired pollies can retire on $200k per year and then get a job for the same or more money .
    Double standards , to suit themselves ,disgraceful behaviour ,the pollies should all be ashamed of their attitudes towards the voters , keep that in mind !
    Alexii
    30th May 2017
    11:35am
    Spot on.
    Sen.Cit.90
    30th May 2017
    1:03pm
    Yes pixii SPOT ON
    Rae
    30th May 2017
    2:54pm
    Yes. There should be a totally independent board of citizens, selected by a random process similar to jury duty, who decide politicians salaries, entitlements and all income and repayment issues. Legal issues should be decided by the courts but with a jury as well.

    There has been much talk of fairness and equality and equity but the situation in Australia is fraught with huge inequality and injustices.

    There is a decided lack of common sense and decency in almost any issue being discussed today.

    Being treated as if we are too stupid to realise the truth is so frustrating and super annoying. Especially when Blind Freddy can see the people in power are selfish, greedy and often corrupt as well.
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    5:40pm
    Now there, Rae, is an idea worth considering.
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    10:06pm
    Yes, I hear what is being said in this thread, particularly about an "independent board ... who decide politicians salaries," etc. Actually we do have a form of that now - not quite what Rae has suggested.

    I think maybe a better approach would be to give citizens a 'recall' right on those who they elect. For instance, in California if you don't like what your governor is doing you can start up a partition, get 50,000 signatures (think that's the number) and institute a debate in the legislature to recall the governor and throw him out.

    Should be ditto for our politician maybe. They don't do what the electorate want or commit a transgression then we as their electors can choose to throw them out. With that hanging over their heads, bet you'd see a change in their behaviour. No different to any other tax payer in our community. If you do the wrong thing at work, OUT YOU GO.
    Rae
    31st May 2017
    6:50am
    Yes Waiting. A great deal of government actions would fall into the category of sedition if we had a media on the case.

    The 'sale' of the Port of Darwin and the fiasco unfolding regarding Adani being just two examples.
    lorra
    30th May 2017
    11:21am
    Of course they should repay the taxpayers' money. Criminals must pay. Australians need to unite and demand this. However too many can't be bothered, too busy trying to make a living, etc.
    Alexii
    30th May 2017
    11:35am
    Quite right.
    John
    30th May 2017
    11:22am
    The politicians have one Lorle onto themselves everybody should be on the same all but we're not they increase their wages by taking off Pensioners it's a disgrace 12 flights a year three claiming for hotels that you do not stopping God knows what else that is a hell of a lot more that people don't know about that suck the lot of the bastards They are nothing but leeches how can they justify I've been on 250,000 a year for what she did and falling to sleep in parliament doing fuck all for the pensioners suck the lot of the bastards

    30th May 2017
    11:22am
    I'm no great lover of politicians - but somehow this doesn't seem right. He has accepted personal responsibility for business debts - something most corporate vultures never do - and at the time he was working as a Senator, he may have been still attempting to resolve business issues.

    Without all the facts it's a bit hard to say, but I hardly think he was 'disgraced' as a Senator, but rather failed in business.

    It's not as if he was in a safe position like, say, a Hockey or a Turnbull, with nice salaried position and using that for personal gain in business etc, via their positions in 'merchant banks' - this man, like many, tried to run a REAL business off his own bat and failed, as so many do.

    I'd say he was at least honourable in those intentions, and this in no real way reflects on his performance as a Senator.
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    2:48pm
    Day was not a grand thief like many before him and I think he got a raw deal from both the government and the media. If the media went after Liberal Party and Labor Party crooks with the same fervour likely 10% or more of sitting members would be gone.
    The other issue is the media often 'chooses' not to go after an MP, even when it knows that the MP is dirty. How does that work? And more importantly why?
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    5:42pm
    I think I am taking umbrage at the term 'disgrace' - especially when in reference to his political position.

    He's another failed business person - there are many of those around.
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    10:14pm
    It is a breach of corporate laws governing the actions of company office holders to permit a company to 'trade whilst insolvent'. Treat him like every other company director who does the same. The fact that he maybe trying to return investors, creditors, etc. monies is what he should be doing. The fact that a large no. of bankrupts simply walk away WILL NEVER alter the fact the "honourable" Senator broke the law. I wouldn't class it as "failing in business". I class it as breaking the law and as such he disqualified himself from representing our community.

    What you want to change the Constitution to allow him back because he says he's trying to pay back the money he owes creditors, customers, investors, etc? Go for it.
    John
    30th May 2017
    11:27am
    If only I could be elected I would shorten a lot of the bastards out talk about Pauline Arnesen should be an angel compare to what I would be number one normal benefits no more getting the pension of 200 songs and are you know more free rides on the taxpayers Cancel shuffled and Kais perfect on hotel fees if you're on flights but the time I finish with them did they wish and never, politician nothing but bastards
    Sceptic
    30th May 2017
    1:25pm
    What??????
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    1:31pm
    I feel the sentiment, John....
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    2:49pm
    Hey John.....4 pm before the scotch come out mate.
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    10:18pm
    Well a political career seems right for you John. You very clearly make as much sense as today's politicians. Vote for stray-lee-yah, Vote 1 John.
    Bulla
    30th May 2017
    11:37am
    well, where the foundation of a so called "sovereign nation" stands on blood and hides of hundreds of thousands of people who were killed for no reason and for robbing them of their everything, nothing be ruled out and particularly in the hands of people who rule in the name pf very those perpetrators who unleashed the cruelties on them. They hold their positions and for benefits which their king or queen enjoy for no work but not questioned then why should they be. But all said and done, first, they occupy their elected positions as representatives of people which is an obligation to society and drawing of huge salaries and pension during and after their term of office itself is a disgrace and mockery of their calling themselves representatives of people. Obviously ,not for people with the kind of history and background they come from. So, it is not their fault but of public which elect them.
    And what work are some of their well wishers are talking about? Isn't visible in the way they conduct themselves in the parliament where they all are on the neck of each others, shouting and showing their monkey like behaviour, allowing billion of dollars to vanish through their doings or not doing their duty and blame public for all the mess they create.What good is democracy for common people who in any system are the sufferers like here.
    The whole system of showering these huge benefits of salaries, super, pension and benefits pocketed by them during and after the years they were in office and for lifelong, is a disgrace to say the least particularly when pensioners are left behind to cry and beg. The terms of payments to these "good for nothing fellows" should at the same as applicable to all citizens of the country and not a cent more.Power to ensure that this happens is in the hands of people (that is when democracy in in action) and let it be made clear to all of them when they come before you at the time of elections.They should be made to sign pledging for not taking a cent more than what older/pensioners get and you will find they are still keen to get elected.
    Triss
    30th May 2017
    1:40pm
    We are supposed to be a first world country but as long as government refuses to acknowledge the third world country corruption of poiticians' pensions and perks and repeals the laws that made them we will still only be a "supposed" first world country.
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    5:43pm
    Beeziness ees good in El Granda Republica Da San Austrador... for the ruleeng clique..... the cartel... the res', hombres.. can eat cake!
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    10:21pm
    Bulla, think you might have a running mate in
    John
    30th May 2017
    11:27am
    above.

    "Vote 2 Bulla"
    Alexii
    30th May 2017
    11:38am
    It seems to be typical. Look after their mates, forgive them for their dirty deeds especially when they are like "pigs with their snouts in the trough" and at the same time chase pensioners and so on. Sheer hypocrisy.
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    10:22pm
    Welcome to Australia Alexii.

    What a sad little place this is.
    Tom Tank
    30th May 2017
    11:53am
    They both profited from an illegal act so they should have to repay the money.
    Paulodapotter
    30th May 2017
    6:14pm
    They employed assistants. Should they pay back their wages as well?
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    10:26pm
    Their "assistants" aren't covered in our Constitution as people banned from holding elected positions representing our community.

    But if the "honourable" Senators feel that they have an obligation to pay back the moneys paid to their "assistant", I'm sure Treasury would be happy to receive such payments. Oh look ... there's one of those flying pigs.
    Linda
    30th May 2017
    12:09pm
    I think most Australians want to see fairness in government. What is fair about different rules for retirement for some but not others? Why is it that there is no obvious performance criteria set for elected representatives? Ducking and diving on major issues like energy policy, and predatory banking practices, while collecting the big pay checks seems ludicrous. We need a serious effort put into our nasty problem of housing affordability, and need practical effective plans for a solid economy in the future, and the security of our communications, our supply of food and water fit to use, sustainability of food sources, the well being of the aging, and their care, fair taxation, and responsible budget management plus our threatened ABC, ensuring a future for our young folks and giving them things to do, dealing with the domestic violence and mental health. and a decent refugee plan. We all need sleeves rolled up, and genuine efforts, smart efforts to impact these critical issues. Instead we get well paid spin, and political and social division. Honestly we must ensure an effective media that can be responsible to report in news to the people about issues that effect our lives.
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    10:37pm
    We should have a right to "recall" our politicians when they fail to deliver what the community (all of us not just their mates) has put them there to do. As is available in some states of the US.

    Here we were 'bobbing' around in the South Pacific with a Treasurer, "Smokin' Joe" who failed us with solutions such as, "get a good job", 'too many leaners, not enough lifters' (or was he referring there to his fellow politicians), "the poor don't drive as far," etc. etc.

    So what do you do with a 'failed Treasurer' in this country? Well you ship him off to the Court of King Donny in Washington as the court jester. Oh, and by the way, give him $330,000 as our representative, plus give him an ENTITLEMENT to draw a half parliamentary pension (around $150,000), even though he is working full time and he is 51. Can you do that?

    Welcome to equity, Australian Style.
    smoky
    30th May 2017
    12:18pm
    And do you know why they get away with this?? "cos they can" I most certainly agree with Lorra, it's time for us to stand up against these politicians, it seems that the pre requisite for being a politician is dishonesty. Lets alter the job description!!!!
    Triss
    30th May 2017
    1:51pm
    I agree. It would be interesting to know what percentage of voters, because they are either Lib or Lab, give their vote only because they are frightened the other major party will get in and so don't have the courage to vote for a candidate who might be a better bet.
    I make a point of not voting for any candidate who is wealthy beause, as we've seen with Turnbull, the policies are made to make sure his businesses and wealth don't suffer. Even to keeping the Gold Pass travel for ex PMs and their spouses, all of whom are multi millionaires.
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    2:56pm
    I threw away my allegiances many decades ago. Whilst I lean to the left (because the right wants to plunder poor people) I have no love of either side. Those of you who read my posts would be quite clear that the current batch are on the bottom of the list, and rightly so.

    I fail to understand that the general public is literally brain dead and is unable to read between the lines. Fancy voting to impoverish yourself. And that is without even looking at the huge debt the current batch have run up in the past 4 years. Also no 'Jobs & Growth'.

    It appears to me we reward the biggest liars running a Class Warfare agenda by re-electing them. And you wonder why the nation is in trouble. I know.........you have to support your footy political team.
    Patriot
    30th May 2017
    12:35pm
    Isn't that the "Modus Operandi" of a DICTATORSHIP???????
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    2:58pm
    It is and that's what is coming if Australians vote this bunch back in.
    Let's face it when you spit in the eyes of 95% of the nation, run a Class Warfare agenda and are then re-elected then you own the joint and can do as you please.
    Patriot
    30th May 2017
    3:01pm
    MICK,
    I disagree: "It's not coming - it's here well & truely".
    Sad enough most people have not as yet recognised the slavery enforced by the ELITE FATCATs.
    We MUST WAKE UP now before it takes BloodShed to reverse the situation.
    Remember the Eureka Stockade????
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    10:39pm
    No, a "failed state" more likely.
    plodder
    30th May 2017
    12:47pm
    so Leon. what are your comments on Labor polies with their hand in the cookie jar. or is that just conspiracy started by Malcolm Turnball and his cronies. just not true eh.
    arbee
    30th May 2017
    1:11pm
    What more would you expect from this left wing organisation, they never criticize Labor.
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    1:37pm
    Oh - I'd say the comment would be the same..... I don't recall any 'leftie' holding back on those in Labor found to have their hands in the cookie jar....
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    3:00pm
    I believe that 2 Labor state crims are about to be jailed, as they deserve to be.
    What sort of crap are you going on with plodder? Addicted to your football team dear boy? And you wonder why as a nation we keep putting the wrong party into office!
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    5:47pm
    I'm something of a 'leftie' if you call someone who is prepared to uphold and defend the right of all to a fair go, and who criticises and condemns wrongful behaviour......a 'leftie'

    I slag at the Labor crooks as much as I slag at the.. others (flicks merde off finger-tips)... and I think many others do, too....

    Most 'lefties' are somewhere in the centre, not the left....
    JoJo
    30th May 2017
    1:31pm
    It is such a pity that welfare recipients who made a mistake or got muddled or befuddled don't get support to sort out their problems and if necessary, time to pay. And if they are treated unfairly, get the debt wiped.
    Shame on the Government, and more shame on these two former Senators - both perpetrators of dubious standing and unscrupulous behaviour.
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    1:37pm
    Welcome to the Poor Court - where the magistrates rob the pockets of the poor....
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    3:02pm
    It's the routine rich man/poor man deal the courts dish out. Rich man slap on the wrist, no fine, no record and no jail. Poor man gets all of the above. They call that justice.
    Patriot
    30th May 2017
    3:06pm
    MICK,
    IF I were a GREEDY FATCAT (or a polly acting as their enforcer & Slave Driver), I could easily get accustomed to calling that justice!?!?!?!?
    So I'm sure the people who get the preferential treatment don't even see this as injustice as they feel they're entitled to preferential treatment!
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    10:44pm
    Gee guys, sounds like the "Revolution's Here"

    'Sooner or later anyway'.
    Rosret
    30th May 2017
    1:32pm
    Ah Leon - the inequity of life. one thing age has taught me is that there is an Australian class distinction.
    No politician or North Shore inhabitant could live on the pension. Even when they are talking about limiting super funds to $1.6m claiming it only affects 10% of the community. It excludes their investments and annuities and I suggest far more than 10% of the community have more than $1.6m in retirement assets.
    The government should have invested our tax money into the pension fund throughout the tax payers lives. I dare say its just gone into general revenue and there isn't enough in the pot so we now have a witch hunt to scrounge as much money as possible.
    Old people were supposed to die shortly after retiring - they just have to stop funding medical research. ( I am joking)
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    1:38pm
    Correct - go to the top of the class......
    Patriot
    30th May 2017
    1:44pm
    Rosret,
    Indeed, it (OUR OAP money) has been stolen and converted into consolidated revenue.
    That's why OUR nest egg - which supposedly was guarded by OUR Elected Representatives - has disappeared & been SQUANDERED!.
    Whilst the pollies are suggesting that OUR OAP is supported by the current TaxPayer (Just to generate animosity between the generations) we SAVED for this ENTITLEMENT for all our taxpaying days!
    CROOKS & THIEVES - THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE!!!!!
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    3:04pm
    The top makes its own rules. Read Bernard Shaw's 'Animal Farm'. That pretty well high lights how our political and judicial systems work. A totally different set of criteria and rules claiming to be the same. They're not.
    Patriot
    30th May 2017
    3:11pm
    MICK,
    I'll "have a Cheap Shot at you.
    I have nor read Bernard Shaw's 'Animal Farm' but certainly am familiar with George Orwell's.
    I agree, Orwell must have been able to "Time Travel" in order to represent and predict the future with the accuracy he has!
    Some people "Just have IT" as they are smarter than the "Average Bear".
    Rae
    31st May 2017
    7:12am
    Orwell based his writing on real time experiences living with retired miners in the grinding poverty of Wigan Pier. His recount and photographic documentation of that experience is well worth a read. I believe it should be a compulsory year 10 text.

    The bosses were proper bastards then and in my opinion not much has changed their attitudes.

    The problem with coalition thinking is the sheer belief that poor people deserve their poverty and it is somehow ordained by the wrathful and vengeful God they choose to worship.
    And the fact that the nut jobs in the IPA are actually running the Liberal Party and despise the poor as weak, dumb and easily manipulated. Seeing those paying for the wealthy to indulge in a luxurious existence keep voting for a favourite team regardless of the consequences they may just be correct.
    Finni
    30th May 2017
    1:41pm
    My own thoughts are that if u do not understand the rules you should not be there, very simple or just if unsure ask some who does

    Also all elected members should not be able to access their pension till the seniors retirement age
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    10:45pm
    Right on!
    Finni
    30th May 2017
    1:41pm
    My own thoughts are that if u do not understand the rules you should not be there, very simple or just if unsure ask some who does

    Also all elected members should not be able to access their pension till the seniors retirement age
    DS
    30th May 2017
    1:49pm
    Well said Pixii. Politicians have made the rules where they get all the benefits and stuff all the ordinary people who have paid their taxes all their working life to be screwed over when they retire.
    dougie
    30th May 2017
    1:59pm
    Given the fact that these two Senators were duly elected and declared as such by the Electoral Commission I wonder at the legality of making any claims against them to recover any monies at all. Especially given that one has been declared bankrupt and the other was doing what most politicians seem to do, making money from the system, it would seem that there is little likelihood of any compensating payments. One could say good money after bad. The answer is probably for the future which would require a declaration by all standing for any public office that there is no legal reason for them not to be elected to office and should any such information come to light after election, that they give a legal and binding agreement to repay all emoluments made to them whilst in office. Even then bankruptcy would negate this action. So where do we stand - done over again by the political society.
    Eddy
    30th May 2017
    2:21pm
    Dougie, there is a legal declaration on the nomination forms for those standing for election, a declaration that the candidate is aware of S44 of the constitution, and it clearly details what S44 contains. Check the AEC website for the nomination forms. It seems to that both the subject persons signed that declaration either in error or falsely. It makes no difference, it was wrong.
    The AEC accepts the S44 declaration at face value and does not make any inquiry as to it's accuracy. In any case it would be an impossible task for AEC to vet hundreds of nominations' at every election, let alone a double dissolution election.
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    3:07pm
    Probably like coming into the country with a plant in your bag and not declaring it. Just because you are let through does not mean your act is legal. If they subsequently caught you it would be a crime.
    Same deal with the parliamentary disclosure I would think.
    Patriot
    30th May 2017
    3:12pm
    MICK,
    Indeed, for CRIMs everything is "Legal until you get Caught".
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    5:54pm
    Being bankrupt does not prevent a person from engaging in business again... what effect does it have on being in politics?

    If we were to apply the rule that a person with no standing investment in the nation cannot sit in Senate or Parliament - two things arise:-

    1. Are we reverting to the good old days when only the persons of a certain net value got a vote?

    2. Are we suggesting that someone currently unemployed/retired/pensioned - cannot stand for election, since they don't have the wherewithal?

    Sounds much the same to me. I mean, Dick Smith and Gerry Harvey hit the skids once, and came back.... Dick even wanted to get into politics and people consider his views important and relevant....

    Cutting out people with not a heap of net value from politics would see that the Lambies of this world, those who most likely have the most to say, would not get a gig, and is a reversion to the pre-Commonwealth time, when only the landed gentry got a vote.
    floss
    30th May 2017
    2:07pm
    Australian politicians have always been a little corrupt but they have now learnt a few more tricks from newer arrivals and are now totally corrupt.
    Boof
    30th May 2017
    2:09pm
    Inequitable. Are they kidding.
    Centrelink & Govt. Depts will spend thousands chasing down, overpaid pensioners & workers, to get back $50.00.
    An absolute joke. They must think some of us came down in the last shower.
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    3:09pm
    Some of us have. How else was the most dishonest government in living memory get re-elected whilst promising tax cuts for the very wealthy?
    KSS
    30th May 2017
    2:21pm
    "we paid these men a fortune to do a job that they should not have been allowed to do."

    And by all accounts they did the job they were paid to do.

    Perhaps it is an analysis of the system that allowed them to be appointed in the first place that needs looking at not a waging a vendetta against them for doing the job they were paid to do.

    And the outrageously emotive example of a single mother with a sick child not making it to a single job interview and being immediately deprived of welfare is frankly spurious. Welfare is only withheld if you have no valid reason for not attending job interviews or other designated appointments and on multiple occasions. A single non-attendance particularly when the Department is properly advised of the circumstances, would not end in such a result. But hey! Let's not let facts get in the way of baiting the readership!
    Eddy
    30th May 2017
    2:36pm
    KSS, lets look at a different scenario.
    If an unqualified person masquerades as a doctor, gets a job in a hospital and treats patients for which he/she is paid a doctors salary. Do you suggest that when their deception is eventually found out they should not be liable to refund the salary they fraudulently received, even if they did not cause any actual harm to any patient.
    The same could go for Real Estate agents, lawyers, financial advisers, electricians, plumbers etc etc. Does doing it as a politician make it different.
    Patriot
    30th May 2017
    2:44pm
    Eddy,
    Not only that: "We should be able to SACK them".
    That is why the principles for Citizens Initiated Referendum (CIR) and Voter's VETO should be introduced in order to return the power to the people where it rightfully belongs."
    With those principles properly implemented we would be able to reverse/repeal unpopular laws, SACK pollies and force introduction of new legislation for the benefit of Aust Taxpayers rather than the Corporations & FATCATs!
    Old Geezer
    30th May 2017
    2:44pm
    How many people actually ask to see a person qualifications before they engage them to do a job? I'd say it would be a very rare thing for this to happen. I always ask any tradesman that does a job for me for his insurance details but this is also a rare thing too.

    You can't compare these with senators as they senators have been elected but the tradesman or doctor may not be qualified unless you ask.
    KSS
    30th May 2017
    2:45pm
    That bogus doctor is never made to repay his salary. If caught he is put before the courts and if judged guilty the law meets out his punishment appropriately. Repaying salary is not usually one of those options. Nor would it be for any of the other jobs/professions you list.

    These two men were elected by the people they represent and confirmed by the Electoral Commission. They did the job they were paid to do. Why would they have to repay the salary they did actually earn?
    KSS
    30th May 2017
    2:48pm
    OG you can always check the tradies have a licence for the work they are being engaged to do. Likewise with real estate agents, financial advisors, lawyers, doctors etc you can check their registration too. But there will always be the 'one that got away'.
    Old Geezer
    30th May 2017
    3:03pm
    Yes you can always check but how many do? Also there are a lot of small tradies charging GST and they are not registered for GST. I recently had a quote from one and rejected it because he was doing the wrong thing by pocketing the GST charged.
    MICK
    30th May 2017
    3:12pm
    Geezer: most would be asked for a copy of their degree. My daughter has had several jobs and this has been the case as well as a reference from her previous job.
    Employers are not that stupid although you hear about the occasional one where due diligence was not done.
    Old Geezer
    30th May 2017
    3:18pm
    Mick do you ask your GP to show you their qualifications, your tradesman his etc?

    It is truly amazing all the bits of paper certain overseas people have these days which is very difficult to verify. You can even buy degrees online now. So a copy of a degree may not be worth the paper it is printed on yet many employers take them at face value.
    Eddy
    30th May 2017
    11:20pm
    Dear all, the reason I used the doctor scenario is that it has happened, in Queensland. Similarly with a bogus dentist in Victoria. and a recent case of a Nurse practising without registration.
    I cannot understand why some people are so passionate that these two bogus senators should be allowed to keep their ill gotten gains.
    Old Geezer
    30th May 2017
    2:40pm
    Big difference here as these Senators were paid to do a job whereas those on welfare only get welfare because they have stated they have no others means of support.

    There is no way that anyone can compare the two at all.
    grounded
    30th May 2017
    3:23pm
    Very well said OG.....!
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    6:01pm
    So a senator can have no other means of support and still be valid in the position, and be outside the same rules as applies to a social security recipient?

    Food for thought...
    ex PS
    31st May 2017
    3:45pm
    I tend to agree, these people turned up every day and did the job that they were being paid to do, no one should be put in a position where they work for nothing.
    GrumpyOldMan
    30th May 2017
    3:34pm
    Who is it that can apply for a job, be given the job, then after a a short term of employment be given the sack only to be paid a pension for the rest of their lives starting from the day they wee sacked? Tack on some free flight plans and other benefits and don't bother means testing for other income! Well that would be pensioners..... Ahh I mean politicians wouldn't it?
    Oldman Roo
    30th May 2017
    3:36pm
    It just highlights again and again that Australians have allowed their Politicians to live to entirely different rules than ordinary citizens - with most of them there is no moral responsibility or conscience .
    Just ask them to explain the huge amounts paid out in foreign aid . It is money taken from the poor in rich countries like Australia and given to the rich in poor countries .
    This may be a bit off the subject but is one of the many examples of inexplicable actions by our Representatives .
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    6:04pm
    "Just ask them to explain the huge amounts paid out in foreign aid . It is money taken from the poor in rich countries like Australia and given to the rich in poor countries ."

    Too true, OR - often much of the aid money is subverted by the ruling powers, who use it as they wish, and there is supposed to be 'trickle-down' to the poorest in the land, for whom aid is primarily intended.

    It seems that if aid can first build up a strong ruling rich class, all else will follow..... **rolls on floor laughing**... as if...

    Ask any dirt farmer's wife in India how much aid money has assisted her......
    grounded
    30th May 2017
    3:51pm
    In keeping with YLC's expose of criminally orientated Politicians, I am still reeling from the bare faced banditry of Labor's Dastiardly. Old Dastiardly's method's were straight out of Labor's/Obeid's Handbook of how to .

    O'Farrel....a 'low life' Liberal; by the measure of the bulk of commentators herein, knew that by accepting that bottle of plonk...and exposed, he had cashed his job chips in....Where as Dastiardly whimpered like a fat brat; before near every TV camera in the country, when caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and Labor gave him a suspended sentence....a stint on the back benches of the Senate.

    Dastiardly dealt in near state of the art political extortion, with treasonous overtones...and retained his job. Good one Shorten....typical lefty Labor doing what it does best!
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    6:08pm
    Sam Dastardly? (neee-ah-ah aaaah! and twirls moustache evilly)...

    A perfect case in point - his assumption that being elected to public office meant he should be treated like royalty at all times and that the taxpaying public can afford to do so without question is THE most common delusion of politicians.

    Plenty of money flowing around the Treasury... a little bit of rorting and over-expense accounting on the front porch never hurt nobody...
    Anonymous
    30th May 2017
    6:10pm
    Dastardly was apparently eligible for Med school at Sydney U, but discovered that politics gave a more guaranteed lifetime income for much less work... and a zero HECS bill, too!!

    Middle Eastern values.. right up there with Addams Family values...
    Travellersjoy
    30th May 2017
    4:02pm
    Thank you for drawing further attention to the double standards of the LNP government.

    Shameful.
    Supernan
    30th May 2017
    4:18pm
    Myself I think this decision has been made to set a precedent. So that if any other Parliamentarian is caught doing the wrong thing, they can say "well I dont have to pay that back because he didnt". Unfortunately the Gov doesnt know the meaning of Lenience when it applies to Disability Pensions, Aged Pension etc.
    Nan Norma
    30th May 2017
    4:39pm
    They should repay the money and be sacked.
    Turvey
    30th May 2017
    7:50pm
    & investigated by the police!
    andromeda143
    30th May 2017
    5:14pm
    This is just what I have come to expect from our politicians. They are cynical, blatant self-serving and hypocritical in the extreme. I apply these adjectives to all political colours and persuasions. In my opinion, none of them have the interests of our most vulnerable and our poorest at heart. A curse on all of them.
    Paulodapotter
    30th May 2017
    6:15pm
    Yeh, a pox on them all.
    Turvey
    30th May 2017
    6:25pm
    I always believed that no one was above the law.
    Nowadays though it seems more & more that crooked politicians are being allowed to skip though without proper recompense.
    It also appears that ever increasing numbers of politicians are taking full advantage of their privilidged postion nowing that they will not be held to account.
    The law is the law & EVERYONE should be subject to the same interpretations of it!
    francobee
    30th May 2017
    6:26pm
    Just another example of the boys looking after the boys, and to hell with the rest of the common herd. Too often we hear of these elected representatives taking the electorate for a ride, then getting away with acts that are morally reprehensible and which would probably earn me gaol time if I followed their example. Take their properties and send them where they should be is my opinion.
    Terry
    30th May 2017
    7:16pm
    So Senator Bob Cullerton is going to refrain from voting on any legislation unto the issue has been sorted out! Does this mean he's not doing his job? Should he be stood down ? Should any funds obtained against politicians rules be paid back? "all men are equal but some are more equal than others" comes to mind!
    Terry
    30th May 2017
    7:16pm
    So Senator Bob Cullerton is going to refrain from voting on any legislation unto the issue has been sorted out! Does this mean he's not doing his job? Should he be stood down ? Should any funds obtained against politicians rules be paid back? "all men are equal but some are more equal than others" comes to mind!
    Terry
    30th May 2017
    7:16pm
    So Senator Bob Cullerton is going to refrain from voting on any legislation unto the issue has been sorted out! Does this mean he's not doing his job? Should he be stood down ? Should any funds obtained against politicians rules be paid back? "all men are equal but some are more equal than others" comes to mind!
    Terry
    30th May 2017
    7:16pm
    So Senator Bob Cullerton is going to refrain from voting on any legislation unto the issue has been sorted out! Does this mean he's not doing his job? Should he be stood down ? Should any funds obtained against politicians rules be paid back? "all men are equal but some are more equal than others" comes to mind!
    Terry
    30th May 2017
    7:18pm
    But Old Man are they following the guidelines or just their perspective of them?
    Watto
    30th May 2017
    8:12pm
    Hey Mick I am still waiting for you to tell me where you saw the info on termination of Super lump sum payments. Why are you ignoring me or were you lying.
    Rae
    31st May 2017
    7:22am
    With Markets running as hot as they are what do you think will happen when it all falls down? Just where will the Lump sum money come from for the millions bordering on retirement right now?

    Superannuation became a ponzi scheme for boomers when off shoring of jobs and self service automation started.

    No way will wealthy CEOs or shareholders share those profits with savers. They won't even share with their own workforce.

    Lump sum withdrawal is still possible. I doubt it will be in the future.
    MD
    30th May 2017
    9:15pm
    Culleton's a veritable crock-a- (you know what) and was just such well before he came to the attention of investigative journalism. Talk about birds of feather, just check Culletons' latest squeeze and you'll get the drift, this lot makes Orwells' - 'Animal Farm' seem comical by comparison. If we're to believe the same journos' take on Culleton & Co then maybe the Shorten influence may help to cast some bright light on the rather dim farrowing stalls in the big house on the hill. I'd best leave off that poor excuse for a pollie before I write something that incurs the almighty wrath of the Human Rights Commissioner.

    Day - as an earlier contributor pointed out - is/was a businessman-politician: he lost his way in the dark because someone turned off the 'light on the hill'. It may be questionable to some folk that his (presumed) well meant endeavours, both private and politic have slid to the very bottom of the slippery slope, That the man has conviction is evident, his mistake could be attributed to too thin a spread of - or a misplaced - critical resource. He has indicated a willingness to meet his dues so maybe we should grant him the benefit of the doubt.

    It is a sad day indeed (forgive the drollery) when elected representatives of the people choose to flout the very laws that apply equally to everyone regardless of rank or station. It seems apparent: at least that is, from a politicians perspective, these same laws apply to
    'Them' and not to 'Us'.

    I've previously mentioned an old friends' quote - "The world has been in the hands of muckers for thousands of years and will remain so for thousands of years to come".
    Worth a read is Geoffrey Parker - Global Crisis (if you doubt the veracity of the quote).

    Put up your best, pay up your dues and shut up unless you have valid input.
    Triss
    30th May 2017
    9:38pm
    Is it time for us pensionated worms to turn yet?
    Waiting to retire at 70
    30th May 2017
    9:42pm
    Funny but maybe some of us might expect a little more honesty from those elected to represent us. Or is it that anyone will do these days?
    Kaz
    31st May 2017
    8:01am
    Yes the system sucks. I am sure many Centrelink debts were made in 'good faith' yet will not be forgiven.
    Blossom
    1st Jun 2017
    12:25am
    Indirectly Mr Day's debts relates to a business that is bankrupt. Mr. Day has charges against him as a result of that and therefore should not be a Member of Parliament. I don't know if his Company is involved in tax not be paid as welll or not.
    Kanga
    2nd Jun 2017
    3:30pm
    That's right! Go after the little guy, but let the pollies get away heaps! This double-standard is disgusting!
    Virginia
    3rd Jun 2017
    7:09pm
    What sticks in my craw is that a couple on $200,000 and over can get a family payment and I have just over that in my super and my super has been docked. How is it going to last for 20 years I am 70 my dad is 97 i actually need it to last for 27 years... AND I am a woman looked after my kids by stopping work and they stayed out of the government welfare system and criminal system and drugs Etc. I got no home deposit rebate; no super saved for years no coffees and dinners out; Always looked for specials and food in season. AND now these working parasite women get childcare rebates.... Stop this they would not give up their job to get the family payment Save money...

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