Why going to the Melbourne Cup and the Polo should be considered as work for politicians

Julie Bishop is the latest politician facing scrutiny over travel expense claims as calls for an overhaul of the entitlements system grow louder.

The Foreign Minister charged taxpayers more than $2700 to attend a polo event last year on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula as a guest of Peroni and Jeep.

 She is also a regular at the Melbourne Cup.

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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and partner David Panton in the Emirates tent at the Melbourne Cup.

Apparently it’s because Federal pollies meet all the right people and it is good for networking.

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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and David Panton network with Geoffrey Edelsten and a woman with orange hair.

708e96ddb16c9342ea6ba0e6b136ddd1Julie Bishop and her partner David Panton talk to Frances Abbott of fashion school scholarship fame

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Julie Bishop talks to Gina Rinehart and her sidekick Sophie Mirabella in the Emirates marquee.

Jeep Portsea Polo 2015: (L-R) Julie Bishop and David Panton, Silvana and Mark PhilippoussisChris and Rebecca Judd. Photos: Carly Ravenhall

Portsea Polo: Julie Bishop and partner, Silvana and Mark Philippoussis, Chris and Rebecca Judd.

So, if you thought that these outings were just an opportunity to dress up and eat and drink a lot of free stuff, you were clearly wrong.

 This is serious work and should clearly be funded by the taxpayer.

Well, perhaps not.

No one ever seems to ask the question: How does it cost $2700 to get to Portsea, even from WA? Particularly when you’re the guest of a motor car company (Jeep in this case) who should be able to turn on ground transport if not a helicopter.

 Most punters could get a return airfare to the UK for $2700.

No one seems to ask the question: Why does the Foreign Minister need to go to the polo at Portsea? Silvana and Mark Philippoussis, Chris and Rebecca Judd and the other D-list celebrities would hardly qualify as international diplomats.

However, there are a number of events that Federal politicians could usefully attend while in Melbourne.centrelink1 unknown

 So let’s give Julie Bishop the final word

Ms Bishop stressed the value of attending events such as the Melbourne Cup.

“It’s all part of the job,” she said.

“Being at the Cup is the most fantastic networking opportunity – everyone in Australia you want to see is there.”

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