Totes Awks – The Wastie goes to J-Bish
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop receives the dubious honour of being named the most wasteful Government Minister for 2015, receiving the highly coveted ‘Wastie’ award.
She fought off tough competition from her colleagues, who did their very best to squander taxpayer funds on chopper rides, smashed coffee tables and fancy parties, but it was the rock star antics of FM J-Bish that took the cake… and the aperitifs, appetisers, mains and cocktails.
Whisking away seven Ministerial staffers and a couple of Liberal mates on a chartered flight for a two day tour of Kangaroo Island in March, J-Bish showed the rest how it’s done spending over $125,000 on wine tastings, fine foods and koala cuddles, all the while ensuring her tag-a-long posse took part.
She did it again in July, spending close to $10,000 on a dinner for Foreign Ministers at the Australia Museum in Sydney, again making sure eight of her staffers were on the guest list to partake in the fine dining experience.
Soirees aside, Bishop loves a good hug and she happily sanctioned a $133,000 bill to fly a delegation of cuddly koalas to live in world class facilities at the Singapore zoo, complete with fortnightly delivery of fresh eucalypt leaves flown especially from home for the four pampered marsupials.
J-Bish staffers may be fluent in emoji, but not so adept at holding on to their device, with the Minister’s Department racking up around $45,000 of taxpayer dollars to replace lost, stolen and misplaced ICT – the most for a single Government department this year.
And while rock stars can get away with being fashionably late, the Foreign Minister’s Department can’t – they forked out more than $20,000 in late fees alone this year.
Labor’s Waste spokesperson, Pat Conroy, says the revelations will make Australians redder in the face than the angry man emoji.
“Julie Bishop has form. She always makes sure her staffers and her Liberal mates get a share in the champagne and koala cuddles,” Mr Conroy said.
“Despite the bumper field to choose from this year, the Foreign Minister is receiving the Wastie award of 2015 for showing the most disdain for taxpayers in the last twelve months.”
“But please, can someone tell her this isn’t a great honour? The Minister should be feeling very sad-face about this.”