EntitlementWatch is an initiative to provide Australians greater transparency into parliamentarian entitlement expenses and keep them honest.
Most Australian taxpayers would be surprised to know that $500M+ was spent on entitlements in the last 4 years by the 225+ federal MPs and senators. Currently, this data is provided on hard to interpret web pages which discourages public scrutiny.
This EntitlementWatch dashboard lets users to explore expenses by politicians across the 10 reported categories.
Click on Chart below to discover the top spenders
Data Analytics expert Raj Dalal is the convenor of EntitlementWatch and has created easy to navigate interactive dashboard using collected from ipea.gov.au
About The Convenor
Raj Dalal is Founder & Principal of Data & AI advisory firm, BigInsights. Raj has 20 years’ experience in the IT industry and has worked for multinationals and start-ups. He lives in Sydney and is not affiliated with any political party or movement.
After numerous reviews and the creation of Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA), the Prime Minister still has much more work to do to address the issue of access to expense data in a timely manner for the Australian public. While technology and processes exist to create a more transparent and data-rich solution, the key question, of course, remains – can politicians handle this kind of transparency? We would like to invite like-minded people to join EntitlementWatch initiative to expand the scope of this public initiative to provide a voice for the “community expectation” around parliamentarian entitlements. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to join the movement.
What are Parliamentarians entitled to?
Senators and Members are provided with a range of entitlements (above salaries) including staff, accommodation and office facilities and travel under various legislative heads of authority. These entitlements are provided to Senators and Members to facilitate the conduct of their duties and responsibilities as elected representatives of the Australian public. While the rules have some degree of flexibility on interpretation, they clearly do not pass the pub test in the amount they spend yearly without much oversight.
How are the costs accounted for and reported by IPEA?
IPEA provides information on their website as a 3 month summary and individual member claims. See https://www.ipea.gov.au/pwe
These reports categorise the spend by the following categories:
Payments made to Parliamentarians for overnight stays in locations other than their home base or Daily Expense allowance for Canberra based Parliamentarians, for reasons they specify within entitlement.
Payments made for travel undertaken on the following overseas trips:
Ministerial Visits; Official Visits; Representing Australia; Representing a Minister; Parliamentary Delegations; and Overseas Study Entitlement.
Costs include fares, transport, accommodation, meals, official hospitality, travel and expense advances, passport, equipment, medical, other related overseas travel costs. This also includes costs incurred for employees.
Payments made for travel by Parliamentarians via domestic scheduled services. This total also includes any refunds received. Travel undertaken but not paid for during the period will show in the relevant report for the period in which the travel was paid.
Payments made for charter travel under the following:
- Ministerial, Office Holder, Presiding Officer, Leader of a Minority Partyand Representing the Minister: for official business;
- Within Electorate: available to Members representing large electorates and all Senators (except those representing the Australian Capital Territory) in and for the service of their State or Territory;
- Special Minister Approved: discretion is provided to the Special Minister of State (SMOS) to approve charter travel within Australia in special cases.
Payments made for the following:
- Private-Plated Vehicle: hire, insurance, maintenance costs and fuel costs of Commonwealth-leased private-plated vehicles used in the Electorate and in Canberra;
- Private Vehicle Allowance: Parliamentarians use of their private vehicles for travel between Canberra and their home base on parliamentary business;
- COMCAR: the cost of COMCAR trips billed for each Parliamentarian, the figures exclude costs associated with the Parliament House shuttle service;
- Taxi: taxi services viaCabcharge;
- Other Car Costs: car with driver services and short-term self-drive hire cars booked through the contracted travel services provider;
- Parking: costs associated with parking.
- Property operating expenses: including lease, power, cleaning; Office security;
- Repairs and maintenance: of both property and its fixtures;
- Telecommunications – purchases: the purchase of, servicing, repairs and maintenance of telecommunications;
- Office equipment: the purchase of office equipment.
Payments made for office establishments, refurbishments and relocations.
Payments made for the following:
- Office consumables and services;
- Publications;and Printing and communications.
Payments made for telecommunication usage costs (fixed and mobile).
Payments made for domestic travel, undertaken by the Parliamentarian’s nominated family members for the following:
- Domestic Scheduled Fares;
- Private Vehicle Allowance;
- COMCAR; Taxi;and Other Car Costs.