Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan has joined forces with cross bench MPs to push for stronger controls on parliamentary expenses.
While welcoming the establishment of an Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority Ms McGowan said the action did not go far enough to restore trust in the system.
“In October last year I seconded a notice of motion by Independent Member for Hobart Andrew Wilkie calling for a significant overhaul of parliamentary entitlements,” Ms McGowan said.
“That motion called for real time reporting of expenses, an audit of an audit of all Members’ and Senators’ travel claims during this and the previous Parliament, and provisions to refer misuse to the Australian Federal Police.
“As an independent voice calling for effective change, I will support Mr Wilkie’s move to introduce these proposals as a Bill to enshrine them in law.”
Ms McGowan said she would also support a proposed amendment by the Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie to ensure community representation on the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority.
“This is about restoring respect and trust in political processes,” Ms McGowan said.
“These Bills go some way to addressing the high level of concern in the community about the generosity and leniency of the current parliamentary entitlements which are out of line with community expectations.
“It is good to see the government move away from calling them ‘entitlements’. It needs to be clearer that the money is for genuine expenses incurred in the course of working.”
Ms McGowan has urged people to have their say by contacting her office with views on the establishment of the Authority by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or writing to Cathy McGowan MP AO, 117 Murphy Street, Wangaratta 3677.
Mr Wilkie’s motion from October called on the Government for:
(a) an audit of all Members’ and Senators’ travel claims during this and the previous Parliament;
(b) real-time online reporting of entitlement expenses and the requirement for more detail of the substantive reason for the expenditure; and
(c) provisions to refer misuse which forms a pattern of misbehaviour to the Australian Federal Police.