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Local politicians cost $400,000 in six months

ON THE JOB: Kevin Hogan, Member for Page, Luke Hartsuyker, representing Warren Truss, Duncan Gay, Minister for Roads NSW, and Don Page, Member for Ballina, at the St Helena tunnel breakthrough.
ON THE JOB: Kevin Hogan, Member for Page, Luke Hartsuyker, representing Warren Truss, Duncan Gay, Minister for Roads NSW, and Don Page, Member for Ballina, at the St Helena tunnel breakthrough. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

NORTH Coast Federal MPs have spent more than $400,000 of taxpayers' dollars on airfares, office fit- outs and chauffer-driven cars in just six months.

Between them, Page MP Kevin Hogan and Richmond MP Justine Elliot racked up $402,160.47 in expenditure from July 1 to December 3 last year.

Ms Elliot spent the lion's share of the public purse on the North Coast with expenses totalling $297,508.77, almost $195,000 more than Page MP Mr Hogan with $104,651.47.

But it must be remembered that Mr Hogan was elected to the House of Representatives only in September last year.

The two MPs spent vastly different amounts on office administration costs, with Mr Hogan handing out $38,668.29 compared with MsElliot's expenditure of $175,759.87.

In comparison, Prime Minister Tony Abbott spent $208,000 on office administration over the same per-iod.

With expenditure of $2567.67 on telecommunications and $3576 on travel allowance, Mr Hogan spent about half Ms Elliot's $5665.59 ontelecommunications and $7568 on travel allowance.

However, Mr Hogan spent $7701.89 on family travel expenses, while Ms Elliot spent nothing.

Ms Elliot said spending $175,759.87 on office administration costs was comparable to fellow re-elected Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, who spent $196,650.94 over the same period.

Spending by the two Northern Rivers members' pales in comparison to that of Kevin Rudd.

The former prime minister racked up more than $500,000 in expenditure in less than three months, before being disposed as PM by Julia Gillard on September 13.

Other big spending Federal MPs included former Foreign Minister Bob Carr, whose overseas travel cost taxpayers $322,899.34, and Health Minister Peter Dutton, whose family benefited from $28,584 worth of travel.

Ms Elliot said all of her spending was justified.

"The expenditure incurred inmy role as the Member for Richmond is to represent the views and values of people within our region," she said.

"The expenditure is legal and within the proper use as defined by the Act and the rules of Government."

Mr Hogan's office advised he was in meetings all day yesterday and could not be contacted for any comment.

What they spent

Total political expenditure July 1 to December 31, 2013.

PM Tony Abbott - $743,830.55.

Treasurer Joe Hockey - $395,331.18

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten - $356,206.19

Greens Leader Christine Milne - $280,389.99

Richmond MP Justine Elliot - $295,508.77

Page MP Kevin Hogan - $104,651.47 (Sept to Dec)

PUP leader Clive Palmer - $32,658.03 (Sept to Dec)

Topics:  expenses politics



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