Attorney-General George Brandis and Agriculture Minister Senator Barnaby Joyce have agreed to repay travel expenses they had claimed to attend the wedding of Sydney radio shock jock Michael Smith two years ago.
The wedding, Mr Joyce argued, was ”a work day like any other”.
”They’re all private functions at which you spend most of the time talking about politics,” he said.
Well I’m delighted to learn this. It encourages me to submit a back-log of claims for expenses I incurred – planned or unplanned – talking about former my work in the Public Service. At the Executive level I was expected to be on call 24 hours a day, even if I was attending a private function.
Without the benefit of a strapped on GPS tracker to retrace all of my movements over the last umpteen years I’m limited to recall only a few stand-out events from which to launch a claim. Take, for example, the time I drove down to Joe’s Fish ‘n’ Chip shop before Christmas. I hadn’t been to Joe’s for a while so he was eager for a chat. Here’s where the door opened for me: he asked me about my job. I conveniently recall the two of us engaged in discussion about how much of a lousy day I’d had while the chips were cooking. I’m putting in a claim for the fuel costs to run down to Joe’s. It was just another work day like any other. Not a problem. I’ll get that one.
And how about the time I attended a subordinate’s wedding. We weren’t that close so I’m guessing I was only invited because I was his boss. Naturally, father of the groom wanted to chat to me about young Rodney’s work. It’s hard to escape from at times. Bugger it, I’m putting in a claim.
Let’s not be trivial. I could go in for the kill here.
Carol and I spent some time in America last year and we were fortunate to meet many great locals. You know how it is when you meet anybody new . . . they ask what line of work you’re in. And those pesky Americans, of course, wanted to know everything about the Australian Public Service. Work, work work. That’s all I ever spoke about. The airfare wasn’t cheap, by the way, so I demand to be reimbursed. Sure, I was not over there performing official duties on a work day, but it was a work day for those poor sods back home so I see a loophole here. After all, I was meant to be on call 24 hours a day. Surely we can’t let a trivial thing like being out of the country as a stumbling block to my claim?
I think I might just get away with it . . . especially if people are idiots. Well, in my opinion Barnaby seems to think everyone is.