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3 Big Scams Politicians Are Doing Using Tax Payer Money

It feels like forever since we’ve had Sam Dastyari in to deliver his Gutter Politics segment, but trust us, it was worth the wait.

Sam came on the Kyle and Jackie O show today to discuss the various scams that politicians have been getting away with in Canberra using tax-payer money and it’s actually kind of sad how unsurprised we were that there’s actually some major rorts going on out there.

It all came about when one Senator in South Australia, Lucy Gichuhi, made what Sam described as the ULTIMATE faux pas of politics. She had been heard complaining on a radio station over in Kenya that she doesn’t get paid enough money.

When asked how much money she got per year, Ms Gichuhi replied, “two hundred thousand Australian dollars, in a whole year, that’s not a lot of money!”

Of course, saying that hundreds of thousands of dollars isn’t enough money, let alone saying it in a developing country, is just a tad offensive and so this opened the flood gates and a wide spread investigation by Sam into how much money our pollies actually do earn when you include all of their allowances.

“You get a lot of perks, don’t you?” said Jackie. Sam confirmed that as a politician, you get to live a lifestyle that you would otherwise only have if you were incredibly rich. But in some cases, this lifestyle was being exploited.

What he found was that in a lot of cases, the people working in our parliament were actually scamming the system and using this allowances for things that they really shouldn’t be. And so he decided to share with us a list of the biggest scams that politicians have been getting away with for years.

Take a peruse of the list below. But just be warned it’s highly likely to make you a tad angry…

Accommodation:

When politicians travel for work, their accommodation is paid for by tax payers. And rightfully so, as we assume that there would be a similar policy going on in most businesses for anyone who needs to travel for company reasons.

However, unlike most businesses where the accommodation would be paid for based on the amount that each night in a hotel costs, politicians are given a set allowance if they stay a night in a different city no matter how much money you actually spend.

For example, a politician who travels to Sydney for the night will be given $446, no matter how much their expenses for the travel actually are. So Sam explained that a common rort for people to do is actually spend as little as possible and then keep the rest of the money in their own pocket.

A big example of this actually happening was the case of a NSW member who was convicted of 102 counts of rorting this system after he lied about staying in various hotels and took the payments for each of them, allegedly to cover up an affair.

“To cover it up from his wife, he’s still claiming he’s in all of these cities,” said Mr Dastyari. “And she’s like ‘oh where’s the money?’ So he has to put in claim forms. So he’s putting in these claim forms falsely.”

Airfares:

In a similar sense to the accommodation, politicians have their airfares paid for when they have to catch a flight somewhere for work related reasons.

However Sam claimed that some people had been completely exploiting this perk by claiming that they needed to fly somewhere for work, when it was really for personal reasons. Sam gave an example of how easy this is to actually do.

“Let’s say I’m a Melbourne based MP, I want to come to the P!nk concert in Sydney, I will call up Intern Pete who’s a mate of mine and say ‘let’s grab a beer before the show’,” explained Mr Dastyari.

“I fly business class, tax payers pay for it, to Sydney. I have the meeting with Pete. I then go to the P!nk concert…and my meeting with Pete gets written up as a meeting with Media…So I would write that off as formal business.”

And as it turns out there’s proof of this really happening. According to Sam, a member from Perth, Steve Irons, had tax payers pay for him to fly to his own wedding.

“The day before his wedding in Melbourne, he happened to have a meeting in Melbourne the day before his wedding…Tax payers end up paying for him to fly to his own wedding,” said Sam.

Luxury Cars To Drive Politicians Around:

Another perk that politicians get when they travel is a luxury car and a driver to take them around to various places. The rule used to be that each politician would be assigned a driver and a car when they travelled to a different city but this recently had to be changed after a particular rort of the system was discovered.

Sam said that these personal drivers ended up being used for a number of other things and were essentially used as butlers for the politicians.

“The problem was that the drivers ended up becoming Butlers,” said Sam. “If you’ve got the same person everyday, all of a sudden they’re picking up your laundry, they’re taking your kids to school…all those kind of things.”

This has since been changed to a car pool service so that one driver is not assigned to a particular politician but instead the person has to call up the service and order a car to take them to and from places.

That way, the tax payer dollar is only going to the Politicians transport and not to the completion of their chores. 

So at least one of these political scams was fixed up, but Sam said that he could’ve gone on all day about all of the ways that politicians are exploiting tax payer money. Really makes you feel great as we head into tax time doesn’t it…

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