NICK XENOPHON M.L.C.
INDEPENDENT NO POKIES MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
21 February 2006
COST OF POLITICAL SPIN:
PUT TAXPAYERS FIRST INSTEAD OF POLLIES
No Pokies MLC Nick Xenophon has lodged a formal complaint with the Auditor General over the use of taxpayer funded election campaigns – and has called on politicians to follow the UK practice where political parties pick up the tab for spin doctors during a campaign.
”In the UK, once the writs are issued for an election campaign, the convention is for political staffers to go to their Party’s headquarters to do their spin – with the Party picking up the tab.”
“Mike Rann should take a leaf out of Tony Blair’s book and lead by example on this – why should taxpayer funded staffers and officers be used for electioneering in this way?”
Mr Xenophon also questioned who paid for Family First MLC Andrew Evans’ 10 000 glossy newsletters that were delivered to Parliament House late last week – and also who is picking up the tab for distributing them.
“These questions are legitimate, given Family First’s Media Release of 1 February 2006 headed ‘Ban Government Sponsored Advertising Information Campaigns For The Three Months Prior to an Election’ (copy attached).”
“Has the Family First MLC followed its own policy on this – or is it putting its political interests first instead of taxpayers?”
Mr Xenophon has also asked the Auditor General to investigate the use of MPs’ travel allowances for “blatant electioneering purposes” as well as the use of MPs subsidised cars.
Mr Xenophon has also foreshadowed he will introduce legislation in the next Parliament (if re-elected) to clamp down on such practices. (If Nick isn’t re-elected, he promises he’ll continue to be a pain in the butt on the issue).
No taxpayer funded resources were used in the production and dissemination of this media release.