Data enthusiast Stuart Robert.
Data enthusiast Stuart Robert.

Australia baffled by Liberal MP’s ‘exorbitant’ internet bills

A GOVERNMENT MP is being ridiculed this morning over his extraordinarily high internet bills.

Liberal Stuart Robert sank an average of almost $2000 of taxpayers' money per month on the connection for his home on the Gold Coast during the last six months of recorded parliamentary expenses.

That is 20 times the average amount Mr Robert's colleagues spend on internet data.

Ironically, Mr Robert is the Assistant Treasurer, and ran an IT firm before entering politics.

In May alone, he spent $2832. He told Fairfax Media the exorbitant figure was caused by him using 300 gigabytes of data, well over his limit of 50 gigabytes.

It’s a step up from Mr Robert’s previous moment of infamy, when he got caught taking a selfie on TV. Picture: Sky News
It’s a step up from Mr Robert’s previous moment of infamy, when he got caught taking a selfie on TV. Picture: Sky News

His internet service options were also severely limited.

"As ADSL, ISDN and NBN were all unavailable at the time of installation, a home wireless service was facilitated. This was the most stable, viable service available prior to the NBN being installed," Mr Robert said.

Once he exceeded his data limit, Mr Robert had to pay for each additional gigabyte individually.

"He comes from an IT background before he got into politics - surely he'd come up with a better deal than a couple of grand a month," a dumbfounded David Koch said on Sunrise this morning.

"Two thousand a month seems like a lot when most people pay about $100 a month for the internet," fellow host Samantha Armytage said.

Ms Armytage cracked a cutting joke about the NBN while she was at it.

"He says he had to rely on wireless internet as ADSL and NBN were not available at his place. Well he's lucky the NBN wasn't available at his place," she said, drawing laughter.

Sunrise threw the topic to former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett and former Labor leader Mark Latham.

"I don't understand it. He's clearly going to have to explain it better. But it is an exorbitant amount of money," Mr Kennett said.

"What's he got on his computer screen? I think we need a full audit on what this bloke is using the internet for, because there seems to be an extravagance here," Mr Latham said.

Over on Today, host Deborah Knight and guest Neil Mitchell were equally baffled.

"I'm wondering, what was he doing on the net to rack up that sort of bill? That's huge," Ms Knight said.

"You've got to be worried when the Assistant Treasurer spends the taxpayers' money in that degree. It's incredible."

Mr Mitchell said there "wouldn't be a person in this country who would cop" a bill that large.

"What's he watching? They reckon a hundred hours of streaming, of quality high definition movies. A hundred hours. Three thousand hours of playing Fortnite. He's got a masters degree in information technology. This guy, surely he can work it out.

"It's the old story, it's taxpayers' money, doesn't matter, we'll just spend it."

Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said Mr Robert needed to explain his actions, given "alternative options are available at a fraction of the cost".

"It's telling that a member of parliament with such contempt for taxpayer money was elevated by Scott Morrison to the position of Assistant Treasurer."


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