Come fly with me… (not)
The rift between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott has cost more than just one man’s job, with an extra travel bill of up to $17,000 for a single flight just so the two men could keep their distance.
The newly minted PM and several of his allies boarded a VIP aircraft to make the short journey from Canberra to Sydney on Friday, following an action packed week in Parliament which saw Malcolm Turnbull finally wrest the top job.
Merely an hour earlier, the ousted Tony Abbott took a similar VIP flight from Fairbairn RAAF base, en-route to Kirribilli House to pack the last of his possessions before leaving the Prime Minister’s official residence.
The estimated cost of the double charter could be as high as $34,000 – the RAAF fleet consists of two Boeing 737 BBJ and three Challenger 604 VIP jets, which cost around $15,000 and $7500 per hour to operate respectively. The Challengers incur an additional cost of $1650 for the Canberra to Sydney leg.
Labor’s Waste spokesperson, Pat Conroy, said it was a worrying sign.
“These two flights could have cost up to $17,000 each. This is a significant cost which could have been avoided if Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott had been able to fly together for 45 minute flight,” Mr Conroy said.
“If these two men can’t be on a plane together, how are they seriously going to work together?”
“There are myriad costs incurred with a change of office, and to a certain extent we expect that, but there is an expectation that the Government will put the interests of the nation before their own internal divisions and that is not what has occurred here.”