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How the taxpayer helped Tony Abbott flog Battlelines

Beating The Drum Opinion by Glenn Milne:

How the taxpayer helped Tony Abbott flog Battlelines – The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Here are two communications, available openly on the Department of Finance website so far ( FOI requests have recently been made difficult or impossible since the new government) – the —-{redacted}—- edits are just blocks of black texta on the original documents censoring various things the public shouldn’t see…http://www.finance.gov.au/foi/disclosure-log/2013/docs/foi-13-32-document-4A.pdf

________________________________________________________________________

 

Australian Government
Department of Finance and Deregulation
The Hon Tony Abbott MP
Leader of the Opposition
Member for Warringah
PO Box 450
Manly NSW 2095

Dear Mr Abbott

On 28 July 2010, The Drum website published an article (the article) which alleges that [you] used taxpayer money to promote [your] 2009 book, Battlelines. The article details occasions where the dates of [your] national book promotion tour coincided with dates you have claimed travel entitlements. I have attached a copy of the article for your information.
—-{redacted}—-

In summary, the article alleges that you accessed your entitlements in relation to promotional events for your book Battlelines as follows:

Date Event Description Travel Claimed
30/07/09 [A]ddress the National Press Club (NPC) to discuss Battlelines – Flights – Sydney to Canberra return
03/08/09 —–Dymocks bookstore “Dinner Event” – Flights-Sydney to Melbourne return
06/08/09 Liberal Party Book Club Event – Flights -Sydney to Melbourne return
11 /08/09 [Appearance at the Brisbane Institute – Flights -Sydney to Brisbane return (with stopover in Canberra on 12/08/09)
14/08/09 [E]vent co-sponsored by The West Australian newspaper and Dymocks – Flights-Sydney to Perth return

The article also alleges that you used Commonweath cars and drivers in relation to these events.

We also note that records held by the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance), as tabled in Parliament and available on Finance’s website at
wvvw.finance.gov.au/publications/parliamentarians-reporting/index .html. show that you received travelling allowance for your stay in Melbourne on 6 August 2009, the date on which the article claims you attended a Liberal Party Book Club Event.

In accordance with the Protocol Followed When An Allegation Is Received Of Alleged misuse Of Entitlement By A Senator Or Member, I am writing to you to outline the entitlements that may have been accessed in relation to this matter and to seek your comments on your use of these entitlements. The possible entitlements that may have been accessed in this matter include :

• travel at Government expense, under clause 2.1 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2006118 (Determination 2006/18), which provides that, [a] senator or member when travelling within Australia, excluding the external territories, on parliamentary, electorate or official business but not including party business (other than meetings of a parliamentary political party, or of its executive, or of its committees, and the national conference of a political party, of which he or she is a member), shall be entitled to travel at government expense;

• car transport. under clause 3.1 of Determination 2006118, which provides that, [a] senator or member shall be provided with car transport at government expense when travelling on parliamentary business, but not including party business (other than meetings of a parliamentary political party, or of its executive, or of its committees, and the national conference of a political party, of which he or she is a member) :
(a) for direct travel between his or her home, electorate office or place of business and the nearest airport or railway station:
(b) in Canberra and locations within a 30 kilometre radius ofParliament House ;
(c) in and between other capital cities and regional centres. except within the city in which a senator or member resides or has an electorate office: and
(d) on visits in the course of parliamentary committee business; and

• travelling allowance. under clause 2.25 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2009111, which provides an allowance … when travelling in the performance of duties or functions connected with the office of Shadow Minister.
I would appreciate it if you would provide me with your comments on your use of entitlements in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Deborah Lopert
Acting Assistant Secretary
Legal Services Branch
Corporate Services Division
19 August 2010
Australian Government
Department of Finance and Deregulation

http://www.finance.gov.au/foi/disclosure-log/2013/docs/foi-13-32-document-4B.pdf

— Office of the Hon. Tony Abbott MP Leader of the Opposition 29 October 2010

Ms Deborah Lopert
Acting Assistant Secretary
Corporate Services Division
Department of Finance and Deregulation
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Ms Lopert

Thank you for your letter dated 26 August 2010 in which you sought Mr Abbott’s comments regarding allegations on the ABC ‘ s The Drum website concerning the promotion of his book Battlelines and the use or travel entitlements. Mr Abbott has asked me to respond on his behalf in my capacity as Chief of Staff.

Upon receipt or your letter, the office has carefully reviewed all travel related to the time period specified. While it was prior to his election as Leader of the Opposition and my employment, records are clear that —-{redacted}—- and this arrangement was made clear-— {redacted}—-.

In relation to the five occasions referred to in your letter (30 July 2009 to address the National Press Club in Canberra; 3 August 2009 at a Dymock ‘ s bookstore in Melbourne: 6 August 2009 at a Liberal Party Book Club event in Melbourne; 11 August 2009 at the Brisbane Institute in Brisbane and 14 August 2009 at an event in Perth), I can confirm that travel was related to the promotion of Battlelines and on all occasions. —-{redacted}—-Furthermore, it should be noted that the fact that Mr Abbott did not claim travel allowance associated with this travel. with the exception of 6 August 2009 where portfolio business was the primary purpose of the travel, indicate this understanding within the office .

In reviewing this matter, I have also been made aware of a further trip on 12 August 2009—-{redacted}—-. Therefore there are six occasions where —-{redacted}—-.costs associated with airline travel to promote Mr Abbott’s book .
From my investigation, it would appear that while the office was aware of—-{redacted}—-.and flights were inadvertently booked as official travel, rather than private through HRG. —-{redacted}—- and I enclose a full repayment of all outstanding costs—-{redacted}—-amount of $6.255.49

l would appreciate your confirmation that these monies have been received in writing and that this matter is resolved. Please contact me if there are further queries in relation to this matter.

Yours sincerely

Peta Credlin
Chief of Staff

__________________________________________________________________________

In 2010, Mr Abbott claimed $9,400 in travel expenses while promoting his book Battlelines. The money was later repaid by the book’s publisher, Melbourne University Press.

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