Last night on the ABC news there were two interestingly juxtapositioned pieces of news. One was about Bronwyn Bishop leading a small Parliamentary delegation of five MPs to South America for a total cost of around $140,000, $50,000 of which was spent on Bronwyn. This was in 2015, shortly after the infamous chopper gate incident.
When history comes to weigh Bronwyn Bishop’s contribution to public life in Australia against the cost, the judgement will be damning.
The other was the closure of a number of “Men’s Sheds” which have run out of funding. One shed requires $50,000 to stay open, although it was not clear how long this would be for but certainly longer than Bronwyn Bishop spend overseas on her tax-based funded jaunt. The sheds are a place where lonely old men, mostly pensioners by the look of them, can go and spend time together, pottering around, as old men do.
Barry Poulton (left) and Malcolm Butt are regulars at Brimbank’s men’s shed.
For many of them, it is all they have to do nowadays.
By contrast, Bronwyn Bishop has plenty to do, not least of which is thinking of ways of spending her exceptionally lavish parliamentary pension.
No one can suggest that the parliamentarians were acting outside the rules. It is all part of their entitlements. And that is what makes it so obscene.