New Speaker represents a new generation: Taylor

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OPINION: Parliament will survive the ‘blow-torch’ over the past few weeks – but regaining the public’s trust requires cultural change around spending taxpayers’ money.
This is an issue for the parliament, not just the government, as we continue to see illustrations of poor practices across the political divide.
I strongly welcome the review announced by the Prime Minister which will see all aspects of the process scrutinised.

Federal Hume MP Angus Taylor

Federal Hume MP Angus Taylor

Many of my parliamentary colleagues and I have been dismayed at the revelations of abuse of taxpayer spending. And I don’t use the word ‘abuse’ lightly.
Accommodation and travel costs, as well as our salaries, are paid by the Australian public – every dollar spent should be spent wisely.
When I arrived in the parliament in 2013, I applied the basic principle which I had always applied in my client work as a consultant: be frugal with other people’s money.
People have to take responsibility for what they do and there has to be some real soul searching, right across the parliament. I believe that rules covering every contingency will never really solve the problem; ultimately each parliamentarian needs to take responsibility.
Most importantly, we need to remember that transparency works.  Any member of the public can view MPs’ expenditure on the Department of Finance website. The reason we are having the debate is because all expenses are published. However we can improve transparency through near real time disclosures, or by developing a new ‘app’ which enables the public to more easily and immediately see what each MP spends. That would soon clean things up.
The election of Tony Smith as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives this week is symbolic. He represents a new generation. I know he will serve with great integrity and commitment and as we start the Spring sitting of parliament.

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