Opinion

OPINION: Ethics of ‘Choppergate’

IT ALL came down to ethics, really; something the Abbott government is trying to have phased out of the public school curriculum. Little wonder.

The actions of the prime minister over the past weeks have once again demonstrated his weakness as leader. Mr Abbott's stubborn refusal to advise the former Speaker to step down is another nail in the Coalition coffin. Both Abbott and Chopper Bishop maintain it's the system at fault, not the politicians.

I hosted a dinner party last week, a great way to conduct a quick poll. Of course, one usually entertains friends, which often means the same political outlook is shared. On this occasion, though, I was dining with neighbours (friends, but diametrically opposed at the polling booth) and visiting interstate mates, who vote differently to the rest of us - husband and wife had differing views to each other.

All of us managed to agree, though, that Bishop overstepped her entitlements (not only with the $5000 helicopter ride, but also the "$90,000, well actually it was only $88,000" jaunt to Europe and various wedding shindigs). We also agreed that the expenses rort is not confined to the LNP. What isn't clear is why Peter Slipper was hounded for a $900 gaffe while the roughly half a million hoovered up by Bishop is acceptable to Mr Abbott.

Many years ago I was the acting head of the publishing department at the prestigious Australian Film Television and Radio School, an entity known as a statutory authority. In other words, it wasn't quite public service, but was taxpayer funded and therefore accountable.

The school attracted the cream of the crop in terms of talent; department heads and teachers were household names in their particular field.

Here's the interesting thing, though; staff were only allowed to stay in their jobs for three years at a stretch; after that, they had to leave, return to their industry and work at doing what they did for at least a year before being able to reapply for their job at the school. This ensured that they were all comfortable with the latest technology and, more importantly, remembered what it was like to be at the coalface.

What a great pity it is that "career" politicians don't do the same thing. Ms Bishop's only job in the private sector was as a solicitor and company director back in the 80s. She won her first election in July 1987. How could she possibly remember what it's like to pay for fuel or an airfare?

Here's a simple solution, Mr Abbott. Make it mandatory for all politicians to publish their expenditure, for the entertainment and information of the general public.

Topics:  bronwyn bishop




Stay Connected

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

'I apologise every day that I am not the person he married'

My battle with postnatal depression...

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Six of 11 arrested during Strike Force Cuppa get bail

Police on the streets of Nimbin during Tuesday’s drug raid.

Lismore, Coffee Camp, Suffolk Park and Nimbin men released on bail

‘Gone surfing’: Maddog men shut up shop after 40 years

Founders of Maddog Surfboards John Morgan and Mark Plater have closed up shop after nearly 40 years.

John Morgan and Mark Plater closing iconic Byron business

Identify the man in the black baseball cap

An image of the man police wish to speak to.

Casino police are investigating a case of malicious damage

Latest deals and offers

Car crash at Alstonville

A crash at the intersection of the Bruxner Highway and Ballina Road involving a number of cars.

A car crash at the intersection of Bruxner Highway and Ballina Road.

Dash Cam of Slip in Snow

Even light snow can be hazardous.

Dash cam shows how easy it is to lose control in even light snow.

Chaos outside Istanbul Airport

Turkish police block the road after an suicide bomb attack at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, 28 June 2016. At least 10 people were killed in two separate explosions that hit Ataturk Airport.

Distress as cars escape Istanbul airport after bombing.

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?