Include ordinary citizens on the MP entitlements review panel

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Include ordinary citizens on the MP entitlements review panel

This petition had 171 supporters
Craig Thomler started this petition to Tony Abbott MP and

It's time to appoint ordinary Australians to review the entitlements of our politicians.

Over the last month Australians have been shocked and disgusted by the latest expense scandal to grip Federal parliament.

Alongside Bronwyn Bishop's $5227 helicopter trip from Melbourne to Geelong, there's been Tony Burke's $12000 family trip to Uluru, Christopher Pyne's $5,000 family Christmas in Sydney and revelations keep coming.

The scandal has already seen the resignation of Bronwyn Bishop as Speaker of the House and MPs such as Phillip Ruddock refer their expenses to the Department of Finance for review. 

Concern expressed by Australians has been widespread, across both social and traditional media.

In response Prime Minister Tony Abbott has appointed a five-member panel to review and make recommendations on parliamentarian entitlements next year.

The panel will include two former MPs, two bureaucrats and a businessperson. However there's no place on the panel for ordinary citizens like you or me.

Who's on Tony Abbott's panel?

  • Two senior public servants, David Tune, former Secretary of the Department of Finance and John Conde, Head of the Remuneration Tribunal. Both are respected as impartial, however their future appointments in government rely on them playing nice with politicians.
  • Two former Members of Parliament, Harry Jenkins, a former Speaker and Labor Party member and Brendan Nelson, former Liberal Party leader. Both receive parliamentary pensions and are close colleagues of parliamentarians accused of entitlement misuse.
  • One businessperson, Linda Nicholls, former Chair of Australia Post (a government-owned corporation) and holder of many Board positions. While she may not be a political insider, her business experience is not representative of ordinary Australians.

A review by this panel is unlikely to accurately reflect the views of the community, even if they consult with the public.

Only by including ordinary Australians on this panel can this review provide recommendations that address the concerns of the Australian community and restore credibility in parliament.

There should be at least two ordinary citizens on the MP remuneration review panel.

Both for appearances sake and for a fair review of MP remuneration and entitlements, our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott should appoint at least two ordinary citizens to the panel in order to represent the views of the Australian community.

This isn't about punishing politicians, or leaving them unable to do their jobs for Australia in an effective manner. It's about removing the perception of snouts in troughs and aligning the expenses of MPs with the expectations of citizens.

Citizens could be selected randomly from the electoral role, like jurists, should not be members of a political party or connected by close family or business ties to beneficiaries of political entitlements, and should be paid for their work in the same way as the other panel members.

If you believe in a fair Australia, with accountable government and politicians, join me in asking Tony Abbott to appoint at least two citizens to the MP entitlements review panel - to make this a real review that represents the views of the Australian community, not just those of political insiders.

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