I am disgusted at the behaviour of politicians from all major parties and their spending of taxpayer money what appear to be non-work related trips.

As any small business owner who has been through the ATO audit wringer would know, the government has firm views on how we get to spend our money. It is frustrating the politicians have ensured a system where they are not under the same scrutiny.

Here is what I would like to see:

  1. Public transparency of all expense claims, on a readily accessible website, within thirty days of such expenses being incurred by politicians. Information on the public record to include all costs, the names of each person met and duration of such meeting.
  2. No use of private aircraft of any form except in exceptional circumstances.
  3. Travel to parties such as Christmas parties and NYE parties not permitted travel at public expense.
  4. Travel to meet any political party donor not permitted travel at public expense.
  5. Establishment of an independent politician expense review tribunal made up of members of the public with member rotation every 12 months to review spending and make cuts where appropriate.
  6. Rules established on what is acceptable politician business. For example, flying somewhere to make a spending announcement is, in my opinion, unacceptable. They should do a Facebook LiveStream or similar, from their office.
  7. The establishment of a federal ICAC to keep the bastards honest beyond travel roots.

Between company tax, payroll tax, fringe benefits tax and other statutory obligations small businesses in particular carry a heavy burden in Australia. It is our hard earned money being wasted by the people who preside over a system that is getting tougher and tougher to deal with.

Politicians claiming taxpayer funding to attend a polo match, wedding of a donor overseas, a colleague Christmas party – these all should be banned. However, they appear to be in the rules. It is time we elected politicians who did not act so entitled, who did not tell us to behave one way while they act another.

The best way to encourage fairness and engagement from any constituency is to lead by example. There are few politicians in Australia who lead by example in my opinion.

Mark Fletcher
January 11, 2017.