Local pollies rack up taxpayer bill visiting ‘wine country’

You guys, I have great news! Like, you’re really going to want to celebrate after you hear this.

So, here’s the deal: if you want to make the most out of your career, you want to create some good solid goals and make some clear decisions that will positively impact the future, all you need to do is go on a wine tour.

After all, that’s what seven current and former Liberal National members did.


They jetted over to Western Australia, where, according to an LNP spokesperson, the various politicians got together to “contribute to policy development”. Have you ever heard a more vague excuse in your life?!

The group spent more than $45,000 in taxpayer dollars, for expenses related to travelling to WA for a five-day retreat in the state’s famous wine district of Albany.

The politicians, including Gold Coast MPs John-Paul Langbroek and Ray Stevens, had travelled with their wives to the meeting of National Party state parliamentarians.

Stevens, whose personal travel account was almost $9,500 told The Courier-Mail that the gathering provided invaluable insights and “was really a good exercise”.

This is surely taking the piss, isn’t it – and I do mean that quite literally.

It’s right up there with the tourism and events bosses who visited the United States on a $30,000 taxpayer funded experience at Burning Man – which was essential so they could “gain insights into current trends, ideas, themes and logistics of a large-scale festival”.

But here’s the worst part, and it really sucks, because it’s true.

The same LNP spokesperson who had to defend the pollies who visited WA, was quick to confirm that “all journeys were within the guidelines.”

And he’s right. The six current members (and one former parliamentarian, Howard Hobbs, who requested his flight under former MP rights) supported the expensive visit under a travel policy that allow state deputies to recover the costs of attending meetings of their political parties.

What a joke.

Yes, our politicians need to travel. They need to meet their constituents, get out and about and interact with key leaders and stakeholders in a range of different places.

But five days spent in wine country to “contribute to policy development” while we have a federal budget deficit of $18 billion, is about as lame as it gets.

As taxpayers, we deserve better.