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.

Register for Relay for Life 2017

SIGN UP: Lorna Hicks, Debbie Shields, Julie Sandeman and Ashlee Hansen at the Central Highlands Relay for Life 2016.

Throw your support behind Relay for Life 2017.

Day extra special for new citizens

FLAG DOWN A PARTY: The council will hold events all over the Central Highlands.

Australia Day will be extra special for our newest citizens.

Their stories live on

HISTORY LESSON: Lady Annie Brassey visited Tenterfield in July 1887 while spending much of the last 10 years of her life at sea. Hear her story on Australia Day.

Hear the region's stories of old at the historical afternoon tea.

Local Partners

Women "bullied" into caesareans at rural hospital: claims

Maternity service review causes chaos at Emerald Hospital.

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Noll meltdown won't affect Gympie Oz Day concert

Shannon Noll

Photo Contributed

Shannon Noll is still expected to perform in Gympie next Thursday

Win your love with tickets

SMILES: Staff and children from Outside School Hours Care are fundraising for a new playground at the centre.

DAZZLE your darling with tickets to this year's Valentine's Day Ball

Jennifer Aniston wants to return to TV

Jennifer Aniston is desperate to make a return to TV

Madonna hopes for election unity

Madonna hopes Donald Trump's election will "bring people together"

JK Rowling rules out Cursed Child trilogy

JK Rowling has ruled out a 'Cursed Child' movie trilogy

Buckley's chance in psychological thriller

James McAvoy and Betty Buckley in a scene from the movie Split.

Broadway veteran back on big screen with James McAvoy

Daniel MacPherson: acting’s a bit like channel surfing

Australian actor Daniel MacPherson in a scene from the American TV series APB.

THE Aussie export talks about making his mark in the US.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Lisa Marie Woodham will be giving readings in Gladstone until Saturday January 21.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

By the water's edge

Secure your seachange

HOT PROPERTY: Money to spend on land, buildings

File picture.

Sale, leasing of industrial real estate picks up in Mackay

Collapsed Coast company could owe up to $5 million

Staff, ATO, landlords among those out of pocket.

Ipswich block of dirt sells for $582 a square metre

JUST SOLD: A property on the Brookwater golf course sold for a record-breaking $612,000.

Property smashed 2007 record by close to $100,000

Sunday auction for historical home

Former Catholic school sure to attract spirited bidding

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!