Your Story

OPINION: Time for our politicians' age of entitlement to end

Minister for Health Sussan Ley during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)
Minister for Health Sussan Ley during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) MICK TSIKAS

HEALTH Minister Sussan Ley will not be the last politician to fall from grace over travel entitlements if the Prime Minister fails to take steps to address the culture of entitlement that has infected the political class in Australia for many years.

Leaders make culture and have the responsibility of getting the culture right. Making rules alone is not a panacea for a sick culture.

The starting point must be defining what is the correct culture. This must involve a recognition that parliamentarians are servants of the people and that they hold positions of public trust. Service and trust must be paramount considerations that must prevail over personal interest.

The concept of public trust must inform any decisions made about the use of public money.

Trustees of foundations and estates must always put the interests of beneficiaries ahead of their own personal interests. Likewise, politicians are custodians of public money and must be very careful in the way in such monies are spent as they are being spent for the common good of the community who have paid their taxes to raise these moneys.

Political leaders can best lead by example in setting the culture of service in a selfless way.

Political leaders such as former Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key and former long serving Lord Mayor of Brisbane the late Dr Clem Jones AO have done this.

Both political leaders took office without pay. This is the most stark example of a political leader serving for the benefit for their nation or city and not for personal advantage. It is no coincidence that both political leaders were very popular and very effective.

Another example of selfless service is that of former independent Ted Mack, who served at all three levels of government in Australia with enormous integrity to the extent he personally suffered by refusing to be party to what he called a corrupt parliamentary superannuation scheme. When Ted left the Commonwealth Parliament, he was required to sell his home to fund his retirement. He was also enormously popular with his electorate.

The public is crying out for the integrity and selfless service of people like Key, Jones and Mack.

Another feature of the culture of Key, Jones and Mack was that these men all had a big picture vision of the way society could be changed for the better. They wanted to make the world a better place and could see what needed to be done to make it so.

It is also remarkable that none of these leaders were voted out of office. Once the job was done, they retired.

This reveals another flaw in the culture of our current crop of politicians. Too many of them are career politicians who are feather bedding their own futures.

It is now up to the Prime Minister to inform his parliamentary colleagues that the culture of entitlement is over and to lead by example.

The Prime Minister must commit to an independent oversight of parliamentary entitlements and the establishment of a federal anticorruption body, similar to those established in the States.

There can be no good reason to oppose these basic integrity measures. Accountability must be seen to be done so that public confidence can be restored.

Ted Mack would want to go further and have the Commonwealth anti corruption body appointed independently by a Head of State under an Australian Republic.

Let the Prime Minister be inspired by Key, Jones and Mack.

Topics:  clem jones john key malcolm turnbull parliamentary entitlements parliamentary expenses politics sussan ley


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

A splash of cash for community

CASH AVAILABLE: At the launch of the ETC community fund's grants are (from left) ETC chair Rod McKelvey and previous recipients from the House With No Steps, local initiatives co-ordinator Tori Smith and area manager Tina Purdon.

$120,000 up for grabs for community groups

Rainbow club shines at Gold Coast regatta

Rainbow Region Dragon Boat Club at the Gold Coast's Broadwater regatta.

Teams battled it out in blistering heat

FORECAST: Perfect storm for a lazy weekend

Rain is on the way on the Northern Rivers.

Much needed heat relief expected to continue

Local Partners

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Can rightful winner Midnight take out golden Gosling in Oscars?

Can Lion pip La La Land at the post in this year's Oscars? Sunny Pawar (pictured) helped bring a powerful film to the big screen.

WILL Aussie film Lion triumph or will popular La La Land prevail?

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

Reginald VelJohnson, left, and Darius McCrary arrive at the TV Land Awards on Sunday, April 19, 2009 in Universal City, Calif.

Darius McCrary has been accused of child abuse

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!