just over $800,000 for the recycled Prime Minister to take his partner (wife) to Afghanistan.
I had all this explained to me yesterday, along with the reasons why it was so important for them to go. It involved planes and camera crews and journalists. There was security to consider. Right.
Or maybe wrong.
If the Prime Minister had really wanted to go to Afghanistan to rally the troops then he could have gone with his immediate staff on a plane that was flying in anyway. His trip to Afghanistan, prior to the announcement of the election though it may have been, was a slick piece of electioneering at tax payer expense and it cannot be justified. That $800,000 could have been better spent. It could have been spent on providing health care for the soldiers who return from Afghanistan. Making a statement about how much the work being done there is appreciated in front of the cameras for the audience back at home and shaking a few hands cannot be justified with that sort of cost.
Of course Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders, Presidents, Secretaries of State etc. have all been to Afghanistan before. No doubt they will go again. They use the trips as photo opportunities. Have any involved their partners the way our Prime Minister did?
Our politicians, of all persuasions, seem to like leaving Australia. They seem to travel overseas frequently.
Our recycled Prime Minister spent a great deal of time overseas when he first had the position. When he was Foreign Minister he was away even more. He claimed the job demanded it. Perhaps it did, although other people seem to do it on less travel. And of course our recycled Prime Minister actually resigned as Foreign Minister when he was outside the country. (He was in Washington at the time.) That was a dramatic gesture aimed at undermining the then Prime Minister in as public a fashion as possible. The media loved it of course. It was considered very newsworthy.
But most of our politicians seem to travel abroad with very little fanfare. At some point a list will appear in the paper of who has been where and why and what it cost. I wonder sometimes just what good these trips do. Networking? Perhaps.
The problem is that, unlike senior business figures, a politician might be a one term wonder. They may be re-elected but the hard work of getting a contract from that engineering firm they visited will be left to others.
I know it's all part of the games politicians play just as they are currently playing election games. I just wish someone had given me that $800,000. I could have made much better use of it.