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Bold suggestion: let the politicians sit in economy class

May 29, 2014 Aviation, Headline News 2 Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Australian members of parliament and senators should sit in economy class while flying, just like the peasants, saving the taxpayer millions in the process.

That’s the call from one of Australia’s more outspoken senators, Independent Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon, who yesterday urged immediate entitlement rule changes to force all MPs and senators to sit in economy class on flights of two hours or less to save taxpayers a fortune.

Last year (2012-13) almost AUD 10 million was spent on MPs’ domestic air travel, with most MPs flying business class, as they are entitled to under the current rules. Web-banner-300-250

Xenophon, who sticks to his principles and always flies economy class – and usually on flexible discount fares – said the move would save taxpayers millions if coupled with a requirement for staff and advisers to travel on discounted economy fares. According to Department of Finance figures, staff air travel cost more than AUD 13 million in 2012-13.

This is at a time when the government is trying to rein back aged pension payments and impose a charge for visiting a doctor.

“In this age of austerity this should be a no-brainer,” Xenophon declared. “MPs need to lead by example by flying at the back-end of the plane.”

Xenophon also called for a greater transparency on the use of MPs’ entitlements – with a regular updating on-line of expenses, as well as the cost of the VIP fleet being transparent.

He questioned the need for the current VIP fleet of two B737s and two Challenger 604s, which are used by the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and senior ministers, ahead of an expected new VIP leasing deal next year.

Xenophon said the proposal from Clive Palmer to scrap ComCar should “obviously be looked at” but given the car pooling arrangements that apply in Canberra during sitting weeks “any potential savings could evaporate when the cost of cabs and hire cares are taken into account.”

“Currently, almost all ComCar drivers are employed on a casual as-needs basis, which seems a fairly efficient way of running things, but by all means let’s do a cost-benefit analysis,” Xenophon said.

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Michael Horn says:

    Good on you, Nick! Well done! This is such a no-brainer. There is simply no need for business class for short flights but I would go further and require them to fly economy class in all flights in Australia as well as all flights to close-by destinations of less than 6 hours such as New Zealand. We have to fight wastage everywhere and money spent on expensive flights is a lot more waste than money spent on hospitals, schools and universities.

  2. AgentGerko says:

    Oddly, I don’t really begrudge the pollies sitting in Business. They are public figures who would probably be harrassed something terrible if they sat in Economy. Imagine yourself being recognised and having to put up with being harrangued for an hour and a half by some rabid supporter of the opposite party. The amount spent is not a lot in the full spectrum of expenses. But the VIP fleet is another thing. Enormously expensive, underutilised and often taken when commercial flihts existed which offered great savings.

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