Essential Report

Politicians’ expenses

Jan 24, 2017

Q. Which of the following political expenses should politicians be reimbursed for?

  Total   Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens Vote other   Aug 2015
Travel for events directly related to their electoral or parliamentary work (unlimited if work related) 68%   68% 78% 69% 67%   64%
Printing of materials to inform their electorate 54%   57% 60% 51% 50%   62%
Overseas study trips (a limited number per year) 35%   35% 45% 36% 32%   34%
Publications allowance (for books and magazines) 34%   35% 37% 36% 33%   38%
Free use of a taxpayer funded car 22%   21% 31% 19% 19%   29%
An electorate allowance that covers the cost of serving the electorate, which MP’s can keep if it is not spent 20%   19% 23% 19% 24%   21%
An allowance for nights spent in Canberra, regardless of where the MP stays 19%   19% 23% 17% 22%   26%
Social events for networking purposes 18%   205 21% 11% 16%   17%
Travel for politicians families to visit them in Canberra or interstate when they are on Government business 15%   15% 18% 14% 15%   16%
Travel for politicians spouses to accompany them on overseas trips 13%   13% 20% 13% 6%   15%

More than half approve of reimbursing politicians for travel for events directly related to their electoral or parliamentary work (68%) and printing of materials to inform their electorate (54%). A substantial minority also approve a publications allowance (34%) and limited overseas study trips (35%).

Very few supported funding for travel for spouses to accompany them on overseas trips (13%) or family travel within Australia (15%).

Since this question was asked in August 2015, support has fallen for printing of materials (down 8%), taxpayer funded car (down 7%) and allowance for spending nights in Canberra (down 7%).

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