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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The learning is for us, not them

The UK MP allowances expose rolls on (now 3500 articles listed on Google News) with Prime Minister Gordon Brown stating any Labour member who defied the rules won't be running in the next election, and scalps on the rise, the latest the Speaker of the House of Commons.

But ABC European correspondent Phillip Williams knows something I don't about how the Brits could learn from us in this area. Or Williams is in need of a spell back home for orientation. This from his chat about Michael Martin's departure with Tony Jones on
Lateline last night:
"Well, very simply, Tony, because he's been seen as stopping reform, stopping the sort of reforms that would've meant that we had a more open, transparent like Australia's, where the receipts would've been public knowledge. He actively stopped freedom of information requests that would've revealed these now. And so he's seen as being a blockage, supporting a system that's now thoroughly discredited and has led to so many MPs being on the nose."
Very simply Phillip, receipts for payments by Australian parliamentarians from allowances are not public knowledge.The Parliament over there is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Here it isn't.

My local member of Federal Parliament is Malcolm Turnbull MP. I've sent him a copy of the
New Matilda article and look forward to his response. If you follow suit, glad to hear of any reaction.

Update: The Daily Telegraph has done some digging into the Register of Interests and identified 40 parliamentarians who own or are in the process of buying a property in Canberra. No scandal to my mind but where their travel allowance payments go is information that should be disclosed as a matter of routine.

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