Sunday 3 May 2009

Cairns Senator may face sack

The Sunday Telegraph reports that Senator Jan McLucas has been living with her partner in Canberra and also claiming travel allowance of $13,000 tax-free.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is considering sacking the Queensland frontbencher Senator.

"McLucas says her home base is Cairns, but parliamentary records show that between January 1 and June 30 last year she spent 144 nights out of 180 in Canberra," the Sunday Telegraph reports.

That compared with only 24 nights spent in Cairns, during that time she claimed 68 nights' travel allowance for her official duties - at a cost to taxpayers of $13,192.

"The Senator's air fares for the period totalled almost $28,000."

The Sunday Telegraph investigation found that Senator McLucas lists 33 George Street, Earlville, as her Cairns home and she is registered on the electoral roll at that address.

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However, she leases George Street to Sally Berger, who works in her Cairns office. Berger also lists this address as her home on the electoral roll.

The Electoral Commission states a person must spend at least 30 consecutive nights at one address in order to nominate it as the home base.


Syd Walker said...

Isn't it time Rupert buys himself a new cohert of clowns to spin His Masters Voice?

I thought Glen Milne had passed his use-by date long ago. Apparently not. Even so, this latest 'expose' must surely mark his all-time low.

I read, then re-read the 'scandal' that Milne's article describes. I have yet to see a single item that raises the merest eyebrow. If Milne thinks this is an expose, he does lead a quiet life.

So..a Queensland Senator has a house in Queensland? Wow. She has a tenant to care-take it. Amazing! She spends a lot of time in Canberra, where she works! Wow. She flies around a lot. Remarkable. She lives in a granny flat while at her Queensland residence. Astonishing stuff!

Milne expects us to be impressed that Senator McLucas is "now likely to face questions over whether she has properly declared her Cairns "home" as an investment property, and if the rent was been listed on her parliamentary pecuniary interests register."

Well, she may. There's no limit to the silliness of some questions. But what has rental income on her own house to do with the parliamentary pecuniary interests register? Please explain, Mr Milne. Speaking personally, I want the register to highlight potential conflicts of interests (share holdings and the like). Whether a Senator has a lodger is not really a matter of public interest.

His article ends as follows:

Her behavior is in clear breach of ministerial guidelines issued by Mr Rudd after the last election.

The guidelines state that: "Ministers must ensure that they act (with regard to) the appropriate use of the resources available to their office for public purposes, in a manner which is appropriate to the responsibilities of the Minister."
Why does Milne neglect to tell us HOW she's allegedly breached the guidelines? Are we expected to take his shop-soiled word for it?

Milne is a spiteful man, who's inner persona was probably revealed here. Any normal person who'd made such a prat of himself in public would consider emigrating, but the likes of Glen Milne appear to feel no shame.

Bryan Law said...

I'm with Syd! I like a Senator who manages to spend 4 nights a month "at home", and the rest of her time in domestic "bliss" out-of-state.

I like paying for the transport and additional costs to help her keep up this lifestyle, and I don't see why anyone would complain about it.

It's not as if we got any decent representation from Senator McLucas when she was living in Cairns. She only ever served as an apologist for a long line of losers (think Kim Beasley, Simon Crean, Mark Latham, Beasley again).

But I'm with Syd. There are millions of taxpayers out there, and its better for them to financially support Senator McLucas than to govern the country effectively.

Aaaagh the good old Labor Party (it used to have workers in it you know).

not happy Jan! said...

I hear McLucas' absences from Cairns have caused rumbles in the local ALP ranks.

Syd Walker said...


You are entitled to obsess about whatever you like. I'm no apologist for Jan McLucas - and certainly not for the ALP as a whole.

But on the day following the largest ever peacetime commitment to ramp up military expenditure, with more than $100 billion at stake (to say nothing of war and peace), I consider this tittle tattle over whether a Minister is primarily resident in Canberra or Cairns is a ludicrous distraction. If there is a rort of any sort here, it's very small beer indeed.

It does, of course, help divert the masses, who love nothing more than a good whinge about 'greedy politicians' and scarcely get beyond the headline before they're clattering away at their keyboards (see the 30+ crass comments below Milne's story).

IMO, we are badly governed, as a society, because we are very badly informed. Consequently, we often elect unsatisfactory representatives and then allow them to be battered by powerful lobby groups without any countervailing pressure.

Ask yourself whether Glen Milne's great tour-de-force of investigative journalism is a plus or a minus in that context. I'd say it's a zero at best - like Milne himself.

the Warrior Supporter said...

Syd is a typical Labor apologist. Sure, it's a just a "little" corruption, in the context of huge Labor Union thieves and thugs who continue to rort public and private enterprise with impunity.

Fact is she's just a lousy representative, and since she's a different faction than KRudd, completely expendable.

And I for one am proud Australia's going to finally buy some 'o them invisible airplanes.

KitchenSlut said...

There are no pecuniary interests in disclosing a position in what has become an investment property as distinct from shares? What a distinctly irrational position! I suspect what Syd means is that he wants disclosed what he thinks is relevant which maybe a subset of the 'public interest'?

The Telegraph has updated the story since Cairnsblog posting this morning, however the circumstances surrounding the reports and comments of leases to comrades (hey it is May Day weekend) of principal residences, granny flats and rooms raises some interesting possible taxation scenarios which is at least one reason why it is highly pecuniary for purposes of disclosure by a responsible elected Federal representative!

Identify them All said...

"living with her partner in Canberra"? That's code for some lesbian deal, isn't it?

Constance Lloyd said...

I don't really think that the last comment is either appropriate or pertinent. The act should be the issue not the gender.

CBD Warrior said...

Well Constance and Syd ...
what's that useless "front bum" ex wife of Steve Bredhauer ever done for Cairns ???

Terry Spackman, Cairns said...

CBD Warrior asked what has Jan McLucas done for Cairns?

Well she got Peter Garrett to step in and put a halt to the horrendous False Cape Development.
Befor that, CRC would do nothing, same for Warren Pitt, EPA, and DEWHA, and Jim Turnour would'nt even talk to me about it.

Last time I spoke to her, she said she took Garret past False Cape in boat, and his jaw dropped.
He was stunned by the extent of the destruction.
(so much for DEWHA beaurocrats keeping him well informed)
I hear she is trying to get a permanant end to the development.

I say, thank God we have people like Jan and Di Forsyth, who have the courage to stand up for what they
believe in, despite what other polititions and beaurocrats have to say.
And maybe that is why some people would like to make them out to be sinners.

Bryan Law said...

Thanks Syd for your permission to "obsess", and I particularly like your reference to the hugely expensive war-mongering of KRudd and FitzGimmee.

Of course, I remember when Senator McLucas played a vital role in sanctioning the invasion of Iraq. The official Labor line was "support our troops", Not in staying home but in going to war for no good reason.

I wonder if we'll hear a critical wored from Comrade McLucas about the hundreds of billions being spent on weapons. Actuall I don't wonder. If Jan McLucas ever had a principle, she's long since had it amortised and invested sensibly with a nice government guaranteed bank like Macquarie.

I love the way you leap to the defence of all these Labor hacks Syd, at any election, for no return. Keep up the good work.

Terry, I'm glad jan was on that boat trip with Peter Garret, but please don't equate anything she's done with Di's efforts. Di took a risk and paid a personal price. Jan just follows orders and claims every expense from the taxpayer.

Syd Walker said...

There seem to be several threads running at once. I guess I'm partly responsible, as my earlier comments strayed beyond the narrow agenda of evaluating Glen Milne's story on its own merits.

Today I did a quick search to see if this story has legs. It doesn't. There's an anonymous editorial finger-wag from News Corp here and Fairfax reports that the non-story isn't going anywhere here.

Democracy, such as we have it, is frequently disappointing and people may forget that things could be worse.

They would be worse, for instance, if political office was entirely the gift of News Corp and its minions - retractable at any time the likes of Milne see fit to write a spiteful hit piece.

Terry Spackman, Cairns said...

Yes I will equate what Jan has done with Di's efforts Bryan.

Like Di, Jan was not "following orders" over False Cape and she was not following "the party line".

This travel expenses business could be the personal price she has to pay.

Syd Walker said...

One of the reasons Kevin Rudd is unlikley to be too impressed with Glen Milne's latest beat-up is that he has also experienced the delights of a Milne ambush.

Remember August 2007 when War Criminal Howard was Prime Minister and Rudd was an aspiring alternative?

Along came Milne and 'exposed all' about Rudd's foray on into a strip club in NYC on an earlier visit to the USA.

It turned out, as far as I can recall, that Rudd was being escorted around New York at the time by a bunch of News Corp jackals. Naturally, as the election approached, Milne shocked Australia with his amazing 'exclusive'. The Murdoch media babbled on about it for days.

What sad bastards they are. The road to riches via serving as a News Corp hack makes mugging look like an honest career path.

Mark B said...

She has done more than that dickhead bobsledder that we had a few years back who did absolutely nothing while he was a Senate representative for Queensland (not just Cairns remember) who walked away with a massive pollie super payout. Some of the commenters here should take the time to find out what Jan has actually been doing as a Queensland Senator before starting your Andrew Bolt style kneejerk off.

Stephen Mayne said...

Glenn Milne is a legend of the Canberra press gallery. I'm appalled at the slagging off given here to a personal mentor of mine!

The Rudd nightclub episode was a brilliantly subtle expose! Milney, my hero, just drew out those flip flop contradictions where one minute Kevin07 denied he had done anything, and the next he was too drunk to remember!

Wow, what an unexpected outcome though, who would have thought Rudd's popularity would skyrocket like that on the story? But easlily explicable when you think about it.

You tell me? Given the choice between going home to a splayed thigh Therese tarted up in the boudoir in a red camisole and crotchless panties, and a mindless night on the piss in New York with Rupert's fave editor Col Allan, pissing in sinks and feeling up pole dancers, what would you do?

Just keep doing ya best!