was $29,676 was it? That little figure popped up in the state newspaper this morning.
Ah, you are thinking to yourself that has to be the bill for twelve months and it is probably for his entire office and household? No, this is apparently his personal phone bill for just six months.
He also spent $27,000 on an overseas "study" trip to the US, Canada and Switzerland. No, he was not away for six months. It was just a very short period of time.
He did all this as a back bencher - and I suspect that what he was doing was readying himself to be "Comeback-Kevin". It would have been as much about ensuring he manoeuvred himself back into the top job again as anything to do with his representation of his electorate. He still sees himself as an international player of highest ranking. I suspect he would still secretly like the job of Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Curiously his Prime Minister at the time, the woman he deposed, had a personal phone bill of just $2961. Now of course it could be said that she had the staff to make calls for her - but she still has an electorate to represent.
And then there is the Leader of the Opposition. His phone bill was a massive $33,523. Well yes, he is the Leader of the Opposition and he has been constantly keeping in touch with his team - like a good leader should - and he does not have quite the same resources as the Prime Minister. Still, it does seem rather a lot.
It all pales into insignificance however when you look at the Foreign Minister's travel bill. That apparently came to $721,576. (No, I have not made a mistake. The comma is in the right place.) His excuse is that he had to do a lot of globe trotting in order to ensure Australia got a seat on the UN Security Council. Our "new" Prime Minister was quite desperate for that to happen. If Australia performs well there he no doubt believes it gets him a step closer to his ultimate goal - if it is still his ultimate goal.
Mind you the Foreign Minister's phone bill was a mere $9533. He obviously had less to talk about - or was it all done face to face?
I wonder what these people find to talk about? What do they do on these visits? Actually I do have some idea. I know for a start that the really hard work is done by the "underlings". It is done by an army of people at home and abroad that you never see. It is done by legal teams who will work until the small hours of the morning. While their boss is at a "state" dinner - or just dining in a restaurant - they are stuck in a cramped hotel room (not the fancy suite the boss is staying in) and trying to get the work done. They are meeting their opposite numbers and going through hundreds or even thousands of pages of fine print. While their boss is off on the obligatory photo-opportunity sight seeing of a factory or monument they are stuck in an overcrowded and stuffy meeting room trying to work out a deal according to the current government policy. Ugh.
Still, it seems to me that there are some people who are doing a lot of talking. Perhaps that is what is really responsible for global warming?
Oddly, I seem to be able to negotiate at an international level without running up a phone bill or travel expenses...obviously I need to learn some new skills.