Legal Eagles’ taxpayer-funded luxury Italian junket fails the pub test

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA), a 75,000+ member national grassroots advocacy group representing the nation’s taxpayers, today condemned the decision to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to send Queensland judicial officers to decadent international conferences, including the "Europe Asia Legal Conference" at Italy’s Amalfi Coast, where nine out of twelve speakers were Australian.

“Rorting taxpayer funds to send Australian public servants and legal figures on expensive, international junkets so they can listen to each other speak doesn’t quite pass the pub test.” Said Satya Marar, ATA Director of Policy.

“That eight Queensland Industrial Relations Commissioners alone notched up over $238,366 on the public purse jetting to international conferences at other glamorous locales including Paris, London, Rome, Cape Cod, Amsterdam and Las Vegas, reveals endemic issues in the culture and policy of Queensland’s public institutions and calls into question the appropriate stewardship of taxpayer funds.

“Private companies generally have strict policies such as justifying expensive junkets based on the return on the investment so those who run them are held accountable to shareholders. Why shouldn’t hardworking Aussie taxpayers be treated with the same courtesy? There is no good reason why the benefits of sharing knowledge with Australian and international legal experts could not be derived at a far lesser cost through conferences in our region.

“Politicians always tell us to tighten our belts despite taking millions out of our pockets every year in income tax, goods and service tax, stamp duty, excise and ‘sin’ taxes and many more. At the very least, we deserve to see our money spent shrewdly in the public interest.

“We call on the guidelines governing the travel junkets of our public servants to be reformed in order to deliver fairness and greater transparency for hardworking Aussie families, businesses and taxpayers.”

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