The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC

Treasurer

Media Releases

Rann should follow federal Labor lead

Monday, 11 May 2009

Recent decisions announced by the Federal Labor Government promising greater accountability on frequent flyer points now meant there was greater pressure on Premier Mike Rann to make similar changes.

Liberal MLC Rob Lucas said that federal Labor Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner had admitted federal politicians were redeeming frequent flyer points for personal use. “In addition, loyalty scheme expert Clifford Reichlin was quoted as saying airline points were almost as good as cash as they can be exchanged for ‘vouchers, holidays, travel or goods’,” Mr Lucas said today.

“The taxpayer indirectly pays the cost, but the individual gets a benefit that is often not used for work purposes” (L Tanner, National Press Club, 11 March 2009)

“Mr Rann should note that in the Federal Parliament all federal members are requested each year to provide details of all frequent flyer points collected on official travel and whether any points had been released for official travel. This information is then included in an annual report which is tabled in Parliament.

“In addition, now the federal Finance Department is going to report on its own estimate of how many points each Member of Parliament earns based on their flights and rewards.

“However, in contrast, Premier Rann and Treasurer Foley have refused for two years to answer questions in Parliament about frequent flyer points collected from travel by Rann Government Ministers.

“Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws have revealed that Mr Rann and Mr Foley have had at least 44 separate overseas trips in the last seven years as well as countless interstate trips earning millions of frequent flyer points.

“The total cost of just the overseas trips was almost $1.9 million including the cost of accommodation and staff travel,” he said.

“For two years now, Mr Rann, Mr Foley and the overwhelming majority of Rann Government Ministers have refused to answer the following question on the Parliamentary notice paper:

“Since March 2002 –
1. How many frequent flyer points has the Minister accumulated from any taxpayer
funded travel?
2. Has the Minister used frequent flyer points accumulated from any taxpayer funded travel
for travel by the Minister or any other person?
If yes—
(a) Will the Minister provide details of any such travel undertaken by the Minister?
(b) Will the Minister provide details of any travel undertaken by any other person?”

“Eleven out of 15 Rann Government Ministers have so far refused to provide any answers to these questions and some of the replies received only provide partial answers,” he said.

“This is just another example of the arrogance of Mr Rann and Mr Foley who obviously don’t believe they should be held accountable publicly in the same way that Federal Members are required to be kept accountable.

“Mr Rann made many promises prior to his election about openness and accountability so now he needs to justify publicly why he has refused to answer these questions on frequent flyer points.

“If there is nothing to hide, then Mr Rann should have no problems in releasing the answers!”
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