Political party executives are being accused of having their “snouts in the trough” with millions of dollars in AusAID funding being spent on foreign junkets.A 7News investigation has found lucrative travel perks, allowing unelected officials to travel on taxpayers’ money.
AusAID’s charter is to help those who need it most, but 7News can reveal the aid agency is handing over millions to send political party officials, on all-expenses-paid trips around the world.
AusAID wants to spend funds helping people in Africa, the Asia Pacific, and South America.
But the Liberal and Labor parties spend it travelling to London, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Brazil, Ireland, Canada, Beijing, Madrid and Athens.
Independent MP, Nick Xenophon, says it doesn’t sound right.
“This has a snouts in the trough smell to it, there should be public outrage about AusAID money being spent in this way,” Mr Xenophon said.
It’s done under the secretive Australian Political Parties for Democracy Program, both are given a million dollars each year, and half can go to first-world country visits.
World Vision CEO, Tim Costello, says $2 million can put a lot of children through school.
“[It] can literally save a number of live – in the hundreds,” Reverend Tim Costello said.
Documents reveal Labor sent national secretary Karl Bitar to China on the public purse in 2010, while New South Wales powerbroker Luke Foley went to the UK and Ireland, and state party supremo Sam Dastyari was sent to Indonesia.
In one frenzied 10-month period, Labor spent almost $200,000 dollars on 33 party members visiting international colleagues.
The Liberals also enjoy their overseas jaunts; One delegation including former Prime Minister John Howard, federal director Brian Loughnane and former president Shane Stone, spent $70,000 attending a Democratic Union meeting in London.
Sending Mr Stone on nine trips cost taxpayers $94,000, while we forked out $108,000 on six trips for Mr Loughnane.
It included sending he and wife Peta Credlin, Tony Abbott’s chief of staff, on a two-week New Year’s trip to America for bilateral talks with the Democrats.
Around $10 million has been spent by the parties ‘promoting democracy’ since 2006, and they’ll be given another $4 million dollars before current funding runs out next year.Source: 7 News – “AusAID foreign junket budgets revealed”
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