The Headlines: Did Parliament Blow Millions on Secret VIP Flights?

Parliamentary Expenses: Secrets Are Being Kept

In some perturbing news, two Federal Parliament transparency systems are currently out for the count. Yup, both the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) and the Department of Defence have put a pause on reporting our politicians’ taxpayer-funded travel and expenses.

One major item currently not being expense reported is VIP Royal Australian Air Force rides. These flights can be used by our Prime Ministers or our senior ministers and cost around $4600 an hour.

IPEA’s system is currently down due to a problem with the software that they use. It’s expected that they’ll start publishing their reports again in the latter half of 2023.

Meanwhile, the Department of Defence doesn’t want to publish its VIP flight findings due to alleged security concerns. The last date that these numbers were disclosed was all the way back in 2020. 

The Greens Senator, David Shoebridge, isn’t stoked with the fact that these flights are being kept a secret. 

“This is public money using public resources, and there should be a clear obligation to disclose,” said Shoebridge.

“This was a critical period during the pandemic when travel was extremely difficult for most Australians, so scrutiny about politicians’ travel is especially important. It’s hard to accept that an all-purpose AFP secrecy blanket should be over these flights to protect MPs from scrutiny.”

Jewish Communities React to Dominic Perrottet’s Nazi Uniform Attack

On January 12, it came to the surface that NSW’s Premier, Dominic Perrottet, wore a Nazi uniform on his 21st birthday. Perrottet disclosed this info because a cabinet colleague informed him that others knew about his party.

Discussing this event, Perrottet said, “When I was 21, at my 21st fancy dress party, I wore a Nazi uniform. I’m deeply ashamed of what I did, and I’m truly sorry for the hurt and the pain that this will cause people right across our state, and particularly the Jewish community and Holocaust survivors.”

Understandably, a lot of Jewish communities have been upset by Perrottet’s actions. One such individual that is upset is Dr Breann Fallon, whose family was persecuted in the Holocaust.

“That uniform is not just an inanimate object. It is a symbol of hatred of bigotry, of genocide, and discrimination, and it will bring back all of those memories,” said Fallon.

“But also, to see it on a leader, that’s going to bring up those questions of whether we belong, which of course we do.”

Related: We Need to Take Right-Wing Terrorism Seriously

Related: Could Kanye West Be Legally Accountable for Anti-Semitism?

Why Bendigo Dog Trainers Are Training Chickens

In NSW’s Bendigo, the joint Righteous Pups typically trains assistance and therapy dogs. However, these folks have now moved on to also training chickens. This is because being a decent chicken trainer might help you teach a difficult doggo. 

“It’s about working with an animal that doesn’t naturally want to work for you,” said Jennifer Atkins, Righteous Pups’ Operations Manager.

“Dogs often just want to please you, whereas the chicken, you’ve got to give the incentive that this is a good thing for them and they’re going to enjoy it. It helps our trainers learn new skills that they can then transfer over to the dogs.”

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