MPs’ $2.7m allowance an appalling waste


THE luxury of incumbency is a much underrated political tool that politicians use judiciously and with great dexterity.

They use their parliamentary allowances to promote their wares to the electorate through brochures and flyers, the odd cocktail soiree, all at the expense of the taxpayer.

Councillors are the best at it. They even have their own divisional funding allowance, used to parish-pump the constituency.

But the latest concession provided to Queensland state MPs takes the cake. It is a $30,000

allowance to raise their profiles ahead of the October 31 election.

In its infinite wisdom, the Queensland Independent Remuneration Tribunal has said the restrictions associated with COVID-19 are limiting members' ability to hold functions and other activities usually funded by the electorate and communication allowance.

As such, the Clerk has suggested MPs be allowed to retain a higher proportion of their allowance - that which isn't spent up to June 30 - and use it in the lead-up to the October 31 poll.

The extra $30,000 will be spent on "office expenses and events'', which means they can pretty well spend it on whatever they want.

With 93 MPs in State Parliament, that means taxpayers will be coughing up $2.7 million for this good old-fashioned rort.

Quite simply, it's an appalling waste of taxpayer funds.

Imagine what that $2.7 million could have been better spent on? Maybe bailing out a few small businesses about to close?

How about keeping scores of young people from hitting the dole queue? Investment in a more

sophisticated education department portal that will enable people to teach their kids from home?

Or a better IT system for the electoral commission so we can get results on the night of a poll?

At a time when Queensland's unemployment rate is headed for double digits, and with the state in debt by almost $100 billion, the last thing politicians should be doing is now is wasting money on self-promotion.

Decent state MPs will knock this money back and put it back into their electorate to help those who are doing it tough.

But don't hold your breath.






Originally published as MPs' $2.7m allowance an appalling waste

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