UNDER-FIRE Coast parliamentarian and Deputy Speaker Peter Slipper was in the chair last night when the House of Representatives was given a lecture on the appropriate use of travel entitlements.
Member for Mayo, Jamie Briggs, who is head of the Opposition's scrutiny of government shadow committee, told parliament that "one of the consistent things that I hear from my constituents is that they want us to treat the money that they work hard for, their taxpayers' money, with respect".
"It is our obligation to treat it with absolute and utter respect and to ensure that the very generous entitlements that we are given in this place are treated appropriately and that there is an oversight to it," he said.
"Obviously, the members of the press gallery and the broader fourth estate do have a role in ensuring that that is the case.
"There have been many cases in recent times exposing examples where people have not been treating taxpayers' money appropriately."
Referring his remarks through the chair occupied by Mr Slipper, Mr Briggs said parliament could play an active role in ensuring that people knew and were reminded that spending taxpayers' money had to be done prudently and within the rules and acceptably to the Australian general public.
"Obviously, in relation to travel, the use of travel entitlements and so forth are important for us to do our job but this also needs to be done in an appropriate manner," Mr Briggs said.
However his target wasn't the big-spending Member for Fisher whose use of travel entitlements has led to a 2700-signature petition from Sunshine Coast residents to Parliament for a full audit of his claims for the past 10 years.
Mr Briggs' comments related to the spending habits of Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, whose bill for representing Australia around the globe has topped $1 million.
But, when Special Minister of State Gary Gray introduces to Parliament his report into the Coast petition about Mr Slipper, members will have to determine whether their constituents would find acceptable them using $310 for taxis for a night out in Canberra or more than $2600 in a day for taxis, limos, planes and hotels.
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