‘It’s a bad look for a Government that claims the economic situation is dire: government officials reportedly spending thousands on lavish lifestyles and international pleasure. But, unfortunately, the Abbott Government must stare down the accusation that Immigration Department officials are living high on the hog.
Weeks ago, it was claimed that officials from the department (as well as three government contractors) spent over forty thousand dollars on a trip to China. The gigantic price tag was said to have included first-class air tickets, rare Scotch whisky and several female escorts.
Fairfax Media reported that the trip to Beijing and Shanghai had taken place in June of 2014. The delegation was supposed to inspect a housing materials factory responsible for the production of housing for the Manus Island detention centre staff quarters. But instead of actually doing their job, the delegation sought to make the most of their ‘meal ticket’.
The factory manager has gone on the record to note that the delegation visited the factory on one occasion lasting an hour or so. According to receipts and other evidence inspected by Fairfax, the errant group of bureaucrats spent five thousand dollars at a local karaoke bar, notching up a hefty tab which included Glenmorangie scotch and several generous tips for the attendant escorts.
News of the report was met with little action on the part of the government department charged with ensuring the appropriate spending of taxpayer money. Today, Immigration Department secretary Mike Pezzullo fronted a Senate committee to discuss the department’s lack of control over the situation. “If any of my officers have engaged in the sorts of behaviours that were described in the article, they will be appropriately disciplined,” Mr. Pezzullo said. “I’m willing to give you that assurance, but there’s no more detail that I can provide.”
The Immigration Department is a sieve for taxpayer funds, funding multi-billion dollar projects associated with the rapidly expanding ‘asylum seeker industrial complex’. One would think they’d be more careful about the ways in which their bureaucrats conduct themselves on official state business…
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