Abbott-era MPs: ‘leaners’ on the public payroll
2016 – ongoing
More than 40% of the Abbott-era MPs who left politics were appointed to government jobs. “It basically means they are giving favours to their friends.” – Monash University senior law lecturer Dr Yee-Fui Ng.
Crikey‘s investigation has revealed that while many MPs found rich corporate pickings, far more found fruitful careers on the public purse.
Of more than 120 Coalition MPs and senators elected or serving in the 44th Parliament, 57 have since left politics either by losing their seat, losing preselection or retiring (WA MP Don Randall passed away in 2015). Of those, 26 were able to secure a new job at taxpayers’ expense.
Seven landed diplomatic positions while four were appointed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. But as Crikey reports, most ended up in the wide range of board positions available to governments: Warren Truss is head of the Australian Rail Track Corporation; Louise Markus chairs the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare; Michael Ronaldson went to Australia Post and Snowy Hydro; Fiona Scott and Ewen Jones to the National Film and Sound Archive; Jamie Briggs to Moorebank Intermodal; and Tony Abbott himself was appointed to the Australian War Memorial Council in 2019.
As Crikey noted: “All governments appoint former members to diplomatic roles and boards, but this government treated public office as a retirement gift.”