The Murdoch tabloids, led by the #CourierFail in Brisbane, allege my office improperly ordered stationery to support a UN bid.
Wrong again. But never let the facts get in the road of a good “story”.
This is in today’s edition of the Courier Mail and the Sydney Daily telegraph. (Link)
Here are the facts:
1 – The Murdoch tabloid papers through Jason Tin approached my office for comment on their “story” on Sunday afternoon 15 January 2017.
My spokesperson gave them the following reply:
“In the most recent reporting period, the Australian taxpayers spent nearly twice as much on former Prime Minister John Howard, than they did on Mr Rudd.
Mr Rudd did not claim any telecommunications expenses. Mr Rudd did not claim any family travel.
The order of office stationery was explicitly approved by the Abbott and Turnbull Governments consistent with the guidelines they issued all former Prime Ministers, and it has not been used in relation to any matter concerning the Secretary Generalship of the UN.”
The newspaper printed only part of the last sentence.
2 – At all times my office has complied with the guidelines for former Prime Ministers, including for the order of office stationery, which are approved in writing by the Abbott and Turnbull governments.
3 – What the Murdoch papers chose not to publish was the following table, publicly available, which covers all former Prime Ministers’ cost to the taxpayers for the six month period..
As you will see, the total overall cost of my office is comparable to all other former Prime Ministers, except Mr John Howard who is consistently almost double.
4 – The other table which the Murdoch tabloid papers chose not to discuss (also tabled in parliament, as they are every six months, and publicly available on the finance website) is the comparative costs to the taxpayers of all former Prime Ministers over the approximate three year period since I have left office. This shows that the overall cost to the taxpayer for my office is currently the least of all former Prime Ministers.
5 – As for the purchase of official stationery, the papers have claimed a connection with the UN. None of this letterhead has been used on any matter concerning the UN Secretary-Generalship.
6 – The Murdoch tabloids have scoured the various columns and sub-columns of former Prime Ministerial office expenses to find one sub-item where my office expenses are greater than other former Prime Ministers, alleged that this is improper, and deliberately ignored the overall cost to the taxpayers for each.
7 – A final note : it is interesting that the fact that John Howard’s total office expenses eclipse any other former Prime Minister remains unreported. Maybe it is because he is not Labor.