Sunday, May 4, 2014

Taxpayers Paying for Buswell’s Lavish Life

"Surely, you don't think that we pigs actually enjoy drinking all of the milk and eating all of the apples; it's for your own benefit that we do such things" 
-George Orwell, Animal Farm 1945

TROY Buswell and his chief-of-staff were living it large on a taxpayer-funded credit card, escaping to the French countryside during a “fact finding” light rail mission — at the same time that WA lost its prestigious AAA credit rating.

Credit card documents, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, show that the fallen Treasurer and Rachael Turnseck racked up almost $14,000 on hotels, meals, laundry and airport transfers during the two-week trip in August-September last year, which included time in Asia.

At one point, Mr Buswell and Ms Turnseck toured the French countryside, staying at the tiny hamlet of Vrigny in the famous Ardennes region — which is world acclaimed for its fine dining and champagne houses, including Moet-Chandon and Veuve Clicquot.

They also dined at nearby Tinqueux where the bill for Mr Buswell, Ms Turnseck and Public Transport Authority director Mark Burgess’s dinner blew out to more than $780.

Vineyards near Fuisse, Burgundy, in France

The region, although well known for its French champagne and culinary experiences, is, according to the State Opposition, less famous for its public transport infrastructure. “While there are no trams or light rails operating in outlying villages like Vrigny, the major regional centre of Reims does have a tram — one of 26 tram or light rail transit systems operating across France,” shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said.

“Let’s not forget that Mr Buswell went on this junket days after presenting the 2013-14 Budget where he abandoned election promises, cut services and increased State taxes".

“I think any Western Australian would be aghast that Mr Buswell demanded cuts to frontline services, then dashed off to the champagne headquarters of France to spend $781 for a meal.”

The two-week jaunt to Europe and Asia happened just after last year’s August State Budget and during September — the same month WA lost its AAA credit rating.

It is understood that two public servants — the head of Fisheries and the managing director of the Public Transport Authority — also went on the taxpayer-funded trip.

Premier Colin Barnett promoted the trip as “investigating light rail systems in Europe”.

Prior to taking the trip, Mr Buswell told West Australians a “very tough fiscal environment” required “short-term belt tightening”.

He had also announced that “non-essential” government travel would be temporarily banned to help WA “live within our means”.

The full cost of Mr Buswell’s trip is not known.

The office of Mr Barnett yesterday refused to release a report on the trip, which was submitted in January.

A spokeswoman said the report would be “tabled shortly”.

The August-September study trip to Switzerland, France and Germany with stopovers in China was the former treasurer’s second trip looking at light rail.

In 2011, he visited Germany, Singapore, Sweden and Norway — costing the taxpayer $33,559.

But in December last year, Mr Buswell shelved the light rail project after a review of the state’s finances.

Mr Wyatt called on Mr Barnett to “immediately release the entire details of the cost” of the trip.

Mr Buswell has since resigned from Cabinet after pleading guilty to 11 offences committed when he was driving his ministerial car home from a wedding in February.

He returns to Parliament on Tuesday. However, many believe that a criminal of such should have no role in parliament at all. Such a stand which would ironically weed out many other existing parliamentary members.

3 comments:

  1. Tony Abbott pushing propaganda about the budget- as this bloated poor excuse for a human being does all of this shyte

    ReplyDelete
  2. som1 smell bacon? LOLZ

    ReplyDelete

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