Aussie Govt Un­der Fire Over Par­lia­men­tary Perk

Fiji Sun - - World News -

Aus­tralia’s coali­tion govern­ment is un­der new pres­sure to scrap a par­lia­men­tary perk, which gives all for­mer MPs 10 free, re­turn busi­ness class flights within Aus­tralia each year, af­ter it claimed it was ‘too busy’ to in­tro­duce the leg­is­la­tion into the House. The Life Gold Pass is a scheme, which once al­lowed re­tired MPs un­lim­ited free busi­ness class travel on the tax­payer, but now al­lows for just 10 free re­turn flights per year. A spokesper­son for the govern­ment said yes­ter­day that with the fi­nal sit­ting day of the par­lia­ment on Thurs­day, the bill was un­likely to be in­tro­duced un­til 2017.

“It is likely the in­tro­duc­tion of the Par­lia­men­tary En­ti­tle­ments Leg­is­la­tion Amend­ment Bill will be de­layed un­til early 2017,” a spokesman for Spe­cial Min­is­ter of State Scott Ryan told Fairfax Me­dia.

“Due to the govern­ment’s busy leg­isla­tive agenda it may not be pos­si­ble to progress this leg­is­la­tion within the fi­nal days re­main­ing in this par­lia­men­tary year.” For­mer Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott first an­nounced that he would scrap the scheme in 2014 as it would save more than US$1.2 mil­lion (FJ$2.51m) out of the fed­eral bud­get each year. De­spite the govern­ment’s state­ment, Sen­a­tor Nick Xenophon of Nick Xenophon Team said it was a “lame ex­cuse.”

“It’s a bit like me say­ing I’m too busy to con­sider the govern­ment’s bills,” he told Fairfax. “This is a no-brainer.” Mean­while the Greens’ Lee Rhi­an­non said the de­lay reeked of govern­ment greed.

“Given the tri­par­ti­san sup­port for this leg­is­la­tion, it would be a quick, easy and pop­u­lar bill to bring on and pass,” Ms Rhi­an­non said. “This is a clas­sic snouts in the trough scheme, and the govern­ment can no longer blame the now re­solved High Court case for de­lay­ing its in­tro­duc­tion.”

The par­lia­ment’s fi­nal sit­ting day for the year is ex­pected to be De­cem­ber 1. It will not re­sume un­til the new year. Xin­hua

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Fiji

© PressReader. All rights reserved.