Nothing irks me quite as hard as wasted taxpayer money.
Because in reality, that’s our money – it’s basically the Bank of the Taxpayers.
It’s our income tax, our Medicare levies, our federal taxes that are funding every single choice our federal government makes when it comes to spending.
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So when a politician recklessly spends public money on unnecessary travel itineraries or extravagant entertaining or fundraising parties, it makes me massively irritated.
Or when they, say, drop millions and millions of dollars to fight the deportation of a family with deep Australian ties and Australian-born children.
A recent report from Buzzfeed reveals that the Australian government has spent a whopping $4.5 million in its attempt to deport a Sri Lankan family of four, including two children who were born in Australia and who have never before stepped foot in Sri Lanka, from the country.
Just let that figure sink in for a moment: $4.5m.
That’s an astonishing amount of money.
And it’s likely to be on the conservative side, as it doesn’t include the expenses wracked up over the past four months as the couple and their two daughters have been held on an island far from the Australian mainland, while they fight deportation.
This particular family, known as “The Biloela family” because they spent years building their life in the regional Queensland town of Biloela before being taken into immigration detention, have attracted widespread media attention after Peter Dutton came mercilessly close to deporting them in August last year.
But they’re not the only example of us wasting enormous amounts of money on our “border protection policies”.
For instance: did you know that Christmas Island’s detention centre, which the government reopened in February 2019, fleeced taxpayers of almost $27 million while it sat completely empty – but was staffed by 125 people?
Or that is cost $185 million to reopen the facility in the first place?
The mind boggles.
There are so many better ways we could be spending this money, such as a sustained education program in the countries where refugee boats still regularly depart, to show them the legal way to apply as an asylum seeker? I know this is a naïve suggestion – but I also know that whatever we’re doing now, it’s not working.
And I’m sick and tired of our money being wasted like this.