While I've mentioned (often) the $140 million plus in allocations to the Parliament that go under the freedom of information radar, an issue crying out for attention since action was recommended by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 1995, Finance says there is a total of $373 million in this year's budget for parliamentarian's entitlements. The Herald Sun has done the sums-$1.65 million per head for our 226 federal politicians.
The Department, in bringing to the Minister's attention that he has various powers to deal with matters concerning entitlements including investigation of misuse under a 2000 protocol (that may have been tabled in parliament but it is otherwise not published anywhere to my knowledge), advises "the entitlements framework is complex." Part of the problem is administration is split between Finance and the parliament itself. When it comes to accountability and transparency the framework lacks coherence, and fails first principles as some parliamentarians refuse to even certify that expenditure has been properly incurred.
"Let's face it: neither major party wants a general election before June 30 next year for the reason that they've all used up their MPs" allowances, which are shamelessly used to help finance election campaigns and don't get a top-up until next financial year."