Sloppy Joe Hockey and his Cabcharges
2009 – 2011
Joe Hockey flew out of Sydney on April 17, 2011, landed in Dubai on April 18, yet was also recorded as taking a $190 hire car ride from his Hunters Hill home to Channel Seven and back again.
On the day that then treasurer Joe Hockey declared “The age of entitlement is over” in a speech in London, he received a two-page letter advising of an “apparent fraud” against his taxpayer-funded Cabcharge card involving alleged “phantom journeys” amounting to thousands of dollars.
Documents obtained by the Sydney Morning Herald after a two-year freedom of information process show the rules for MPs using privately chauffeured hire cars were repeatedly broken in relation to Mr Hockey’s account.
Drivers from a favoured hire car company had filled out and signed on Hockey’s behalf Cabcharge dockets worth at least $10,000, dating back to 2009.
Many of the dockets – for amounts as high as $760 each at $95 an hour – do not contain destination or time details, but simply state the driver transported Hockey “as directed” for up to eight hours at a time.
On one occasion, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, Hockey departed Sydney on the evening of April 17, 2011, landed in Dubai at 5.45 am on April 18, yet was also recorded as taking a $190 hire car ride in Sydney from his Hunters Hill home to Channel Seven and back again. The trip was recorded on a hand-written Cabcharge docket and signed by the driver on Mr Hockey’s behalf. And the account details on the docket were those of a cancelled card, according to the federal department of finance.
The Senators and Members Handbook states that “the passenger should sign the contractor’s travel docket, detailing the location, kilometres, time and cost of the trip and ensure these details are forwarded to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services”.