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Friday, June 26, 2009

Federal MPs travel details on-line.

Special Minister of State Joe Ludwig yesterday tabled in Federal Parliament the six monthly reports on travel and related expenses paid by the Department of Finance and Deregulation for members of parliament and former members, and overseas study travel reports submitted by members.

Two welcome firsts: for the first time information about airline loyalty points and their use is included. And the reports are also posted on the Department's

The information on parliamentarians (537 pages!!) and former parliamentarians comprises: aggregate information on travel entitlements for all Senators and Members; summary information particular to each Senator and Member on costs incurred and any repayments to Finance in the various categories of travel entitlements for two seperate reporting periods:travel paid between 1 July and 31 December 2008 and undertaken on or after 1 July 2008; travel paid between 1 July and 31 December 2008 and undertaken prior to 1 July 2008; and details of payments of Travelling Allowance made by Finance and of any repayments.

Some Fairfax newspapers yesterday reported on the latest details from the Register of Interests for senators and members of Federal Parliament also just tabled, (touching off this debate in the Senate) but we haven't got to the point yet where that sort of information in searchable form is posted on Parliament's website, although hat tip to Open Australia for their manual attempts to publish an "unofficial" version. And also alas, nothing on the web about the significant payments and expenditure of money to and for parliamentarians, including electorate and other allowances administered not by Finance but by Parliament itself.

So at the Federal level some welcome progress. In NSW as we heard from the Attorney General during debate the other night on an unsuccessful move to have the Government Information legislation extend to Parliament itself, those interested in this stuff must be voyeurs.

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