Carlo's Corner: Thank god the age of entitlement is over or who knows what Bronwyn Bishop would claim

July 31, 2015
Bronwyn Bishop's political career.

Thank god the age of entitlement is over and the days of the lifters carrying the leaners is finished. Otherwise, just imagine what sort of absurd things politicians like Bronwyn Bishop might claim.

Instead of a $5000 helicopter ride from Melbourne to Geelong for a Liberal Party fundraiser, the Speaker might have taken a taxpayer-funded gold-plated spaceship via Pluto, stocked with black truffle mushrooms and caviar.

Or maybe she'd buy a Greek Island and claim it as a legitimate expense as part of her work on a committee investigating how to cut wasteful public expenditure. The Greeks are, after all, now experts in cutting spending right to the bone — they have to, or an angry German yells at them then steals their kidneys and executes their first-born child.

And why not, seeing as the scale of the crisis means you can probably buy a Greek island for about as much as it costs the public to pay Joe Hockey's rent for his wife's flat for about a month.

And no doubt Bishop could make a case that it would legitimately be in the nation's interest to take a five-star Mediterranean cruise as part of her fact-finding trip on learning to spend wisely, which is so important given the debt inherited by five years of Labor's wanton spending.

Even Hockey thinks Bishop may have gone a bit too far, responding to the revelations of the five grand helicopter trip by saying “it was not a good look” and didn't “pass the sniff test”.

And he'd be the one to know. He not only claims $271 a night to stay in a flat owned by his wife, he has also charged the taxpayer more than $20,000 for 13 trips to his own farm in Queensland while shadow Treasurer, so he's really the expert in rorting.

Having Hockey suggest you're pushing the envelope in expense claims must be a bit like having Todd “The Bubbler” Carney come up to you in a nightclub and suggest you should really tone it down a bit. We all like a bit of drunken fun, but your behaviour's really pushing the boundaries of good taste. You'd have to stop and think about your lifestyle choices.

Perhaps it was Hockey's intervention that made Bishop pause for thought. Because, to her credit, Bishop has apologised for wasting public money, so that's all OK now.

If you ever get done for robbing a bank, you might want to try that excuse in court. I am sure the magistrate will be very sympathetic as everyone makes “errors of judgement” from time to time and the key thing is you are really very sorry about the whole kerfuffle.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has put Bishop “on probation”. But on July 20 called for a “sense of proportion” over the fact Bishop somehow managed to rack up $811,857 in travel expenses last year.

Fair enough, when you consider that a Guardian article last year reported that Abbott was very happy to continue to give taxpayers’ money to fossil fuel companies to the tune of $10 billion a year in subsidies. Compared with what the big corporations, hard at work destroying the planet, suck out of the purse, our politicians are amateurs.

* * *

In the aftermath of the Reclaim Australia rallies on the weekend of July 18-19, it was revealed that police had confiscated a gun from a bus carrying some of the “proud Aussies” of the United Patriots Front who travelled from Sydney to Melbourne to join Melbourne's Reclaim march.

Police were tipped off by boasts on social media and confiscated a knife as well as a gun — then let the brave patriots on their way.

No one was arrested and they continued to their rally to “reclaim” this once-great nation from the halal-certified Sharia law terror we all suffer under.

Now this might seem concerning, but a sense of perspective is crucial. Taking deadly weapons to an event likely to involve physical confrontations between racists and anti-racists might suggest ill-intent, but it is not as though it was anything really dangerous like a fake plastic sword or anything.

You know, like the plastic sword police seized last September from the home of Mustafa Dirani in the nation's largest ever coordinated anti-terror raids involving 800 armed cops in the photos splashed across the front pages around the country.

A gun can do some damage, sure, but a plastic sword that the media eventually reported “would be found in almost every Shiite household as a decorative item” and that “wouldn't be able to cut a cucumber” could still very easily end up as a prop in an amateur theatrical production of Aladdin.

And frankly the world has seen too many horrors already. We can't be enabling amateur musical theatre in our suburbs.

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