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.

Road smash puts two in hospital

Six people were involved in a smash on a busy Coast road overnight

Coast adventurer makes historic desert crossing

DESERT EXPEDITOIN: A Sunshine Coast man has crossed the Taklamakan Desert in two weeks.

He took his first stop on the shifting sands and his heart sank

Why four blokes trekked across the desert

SILK ROAD PIRATES: Kristan Fischer, Avirup Bagchi, Lawrence Alexander and Juan Guerrero in the Taklamakan Desert.

From Arctic Siberia to shifting sands in China

Local Partners

Undercover cops bust weed dealers in sting

TWO women nabbed selling marijuana to undercover police were among a host of people facing serious drug charges in court yesterday.

REVEALED: When TK Maxx will open in Toowoomba

European chain department store TK Maxx is opening in Toowoomba on Saturday, May, 6.

The global megastore has revealed when it will open its doors

What public holidays are left in 2017

HOLIDAYS: Out and about at Dicky Beach are Janine and Cooper, 3, Smith with Tamara and Harrison Polzin, 18 months.

THE Easter break is almost over but there are plenty of days off yet

Madonna biopic in the works

MADONNA’S life as a rising pop star in New York in the early 1980s is set to be documented in a new biopic titled Blonde Ambition

Billionaire Elon Musk and Amber Heard hit Shingle Inn

Amber Heard and Elon Musk enjoy a bite to eat at the Shingle Inn, Broadbeach.

Actor Amber Heard and billionaire Elon Musk are enjoying Qld

New Netflix doco on JonBenet Ramsay's death makes huge claim

A new documentary will air claims that child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsay was murdered by a paedo sex ring.

New claims that JonBenet Ramsay was killed by a paedophile sex ring

Movie review: Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol. 2 delivers on all fronts

Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Drax (Dave Bautista) in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.

Does Guardians Vol. 2 live up to high expectations set by original?

Sir Elton John hospitalised with rare infection

CROCODILE ROCKER: Sir Elton John will head to Mackay in September for the first stop of his Australian tour.

Elton John cancels shows after becoming violently ill.

Sunshine Coast singers out to turn chairs on The Voice

NEXT BIG THING? Tune in to see Glasshouse Mountains folk artist Benjamin James Caldwell on The Voice.

Do our Coast folk singers have what it takes to turn judges' chairs?

Former Glee star Lea Michele posts nude selfie to Instagram

Former Glee star Lea Michele has posted a very revealing snapshot

Lisa Curry and fiance sell up Sunshine Coast property

I'm a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here! contestant Lisa Curry with partner Mark Tabone after being evicted from the South African jungle. Picture: Dylan Robinson ***EMBARGOED 7:30pm March 9th***

Plans for dream home on hold at Mount Mellum place on market

SOLD: Iconic M'boro pub set to be transformed

Shane Muller from Maryborough Motorcycles will be opening up a showroom and café at the Shamrock Hotel.

The Shamrock Hotel is set to be transformed in the next two months.

Time stands still at '80s home

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First time on the market for Mudjimba beachside home

Entertaining's a pleasure

Elevated living amongst the trees with sea breezes at Coolum Beach

Coast developer looks to prime real estate's future

MANY OPTIONS: Sunshine Coast developer Graeme Juniper is considering what to do with a prime piece of real estate he owns on Radical Bay on Magnetic Island, near Townsville.

Radical Bay is World Environment Heritage-listed.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!