Taxpayers cop travel bill

by Chris Griffith
Published 4 February 1996 in The Sunday Mail


my face


Taxpayers have outlaid hundreds of thousands of dollars paying the air and accommodation costs of both the government and the opposition campaigning in Mundingburra.

The office of Liberal Party candidate Frank Tanti yesterday said nearly all Goss government ministers had visited the electorate sometime during the campaign.

Visiting ministers, they said, included Mr Goss, Mr Burns, Mr Gibbs, Mr Beattie, Mr Mackenroth, Mr Barton, Mr Braddy, Mr Foley, Mr Elder, Mr McGrady, and Mr Milliner, and Mrs Woodgate.

Coalition shadow ministers too had been active visiting Mundingburra.

Prominent opposition visitors included Mr Borbidge, Mrs Sheldon, Mr Beanland, Mr Cooper, Mr Quinn, Mr Horan, Mr Santoro, Mr Laming, and Mr Connor.

While trips by politicians from both sides are widely accepted as legitimate, taxpayer funds usually spent on government programs had financed blatantly political activities in Mundingburra.

Ministers had access to unlimited travel, and opposition frontbenchers used up their normal travel entitlement to help fund their Townsville visits.

One prominent government frontbencher not to visit Mundingburra during the by- election campaign was Treasurer Keith De Lacy -- who, according to Labor candidate Tony Mooney, was regarded by some as the Minister for the rival city of Cairns.

On Friday, Mr Mooney was reported as pledging to set up "road blocks" to stop state government funds going further north than Townsville.

He said the state government had fully funded the Cairns convention centre, but only had matched dollar for dollar the cost of Townsville's centre.

Mr De Lacy yesterday said he was proud of his record in capturing resources for Cairns.

"I don't make these decisions, the government does," he said.