Liberal National MPs let party faithful pick up the tab
STINGY Liberal National MPs are leaning on local branches to pay for their party affiliation fees despite earning twice the average wage of other full-time Australian employees.
Leaked meeting minutes from the Lockyer branch of the LNP have revealed funds raised by grassroots members were used to reimburse sitting MP Jim McDonald's $3727.37 "parliamentary affiliation fee".
A party spokesman yesterday confirmed it was not uncommon for Liberal National MPs to use money raised by members to pay for party fees.
He would not go into details about Mr McDonald's reimbursed fee or answer questions about whether Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington had also been reimbursed.
"It is not unusual for political parties to have a levy or fee," he said.
"We understand Labor Party MPs pay a levy of around 9 per cent.''
However it is believed Labor MPs are made to pay their fees from their own pockets, rather than rely on funds raised by members.
Mr McDonald, a first-term MP and former police officer, earns a base salary of $160,000 and pockets a further $24,000 annual stipend as a member of State Parliament's Education, Employment and Small Business Committee.
He lists three Gatton residential properties and two Mooloolaba apartments on his register of members' interests, as well as rental income from four of these addresses.
Some local LNP members are seething that the cash they raise from volunteering their time is being siphoned off to help line the pockets of MPs.
"Party members who are normal workers on $60,000 or pensioners on $35,000 that don't realise what is going on should be horrified," one figure said.
The minutes show the Lockyer branch account had a balance of $5550.09 when the motion was moved to reimburse Mr McDonald's affiliation fees.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said it was a bit rich that Liberal National MPs were profiting from the efforts of their members.
"At a time when many people are struggling to make ends meet, it's hard to believe the Member for Lockyer can't pay his party affiliation fee without seeking help from his own branch members," she said.
Originally published as Liberal National MPs let party faithful pick up the tab