The Travels Of Anthony Abbott, Author, Unpaid By MUP

I put this up a few months ago, and it gained in relevance lately.

My wife Anne Brooksbank, a prize winning screenwriter and runner-up in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for a young adult novel in 2012, noticed what Tony Abbott had hidden in travel expenses, and what the relevant department had asked him to pay back, and wrote me at my request the following letter. This is what she said:

Dear Bob,

I think there really is something in this. If it were not for the treatment of Slipper over his travel expenses, and the fact that he is being pursued through the courts about it, it would probably slide past. But I think Slipper is right that Abbott got seriously preferential treatment.

You and I know author tours at first hand, both Random House and Penguin. Every book has a budget, including a budget for publicity. Over the past twenty-five years or so, the publishing of books – printed books in particular – has become much more costly and publishers can expect much less in the way of returns. That is why so much of the publicity for a book happens on radio – the author doesn’t have to travel anywhere but can do an interview either over the phone or, in the case of the ABC, from a Tardis Booth in one of the capital cities.

The author will be consulted on the publicity, but in the end the costs v. sales equation applies. Once the schedule is drawn up, other requests for interviews, book signings or speeches, either interstate or at country festivals, will usually come in. The publicist will say, well, if you can get there and find somewhere to stay, we’ll set up the interviews, but there is no more in the budget for travel expenses. Melbourne University Press, who published Battlelines, would be no different in this from the larger publishers. Their budget may even be tighter.

These requests for an author to come in person and speak at different gatherings in interstate or country venues are tempting. It’s not about the money you as the author make on the books you sell in these circumstances, which is usually only a few dollars, but on the wider distribution of your books – something every author, including Tony Abbott, cares about. When this question arises it is then up to the author either to refuse to go or pay his or her expenses. As you and I know, you weigh it up and decide either to go or not.

Tony Abbott would have been told that Melbourne University Press could only pay for a certain amount of travel. He must have known that these further trips were outside his normal parliamentary work. He must have noticed that he was flying somewhere to publicise the book. He must have noticed that he was riding in a commonwealth car either to the airport or to the occasion itself. (I think the commonwealth cars are particularly significant in this case. Why not catch a taxi?) He must have noticed when he was staying overnight in a hotel for a speaking occasion next day. He must have known that the publisher was not paying for these things. Maybe he combined some of it with parliamentary business, but, since he had to pay back $9,400 in travel expenses, it is clear that a number of these trips were conclusively shown not to be in connection with his parliamentary duties. Anyone in his office booking the trips for him must have known that. I don’t see how he could not have known it as well.

No-one would much want to see him dragged through court over it and he has, or so I understand, paid the money back, but it still comes down to the question of why Slipper has been pursued in court for limited travel expenses and Abbott, for a much larger sum, has not.


To this statement I would add: If what Anne says is true, and it seems to be, then Peter Slipper, who is still facing a gaol sentence for less than a thousand dollars of travel expenses, has been treated with massive injustice, and Tony Abbott with extraordinary leniency.

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  1. Tony Abbott & his fellow Robbing Hoods have been caught with their hands in other people’s pockets again.

    They’ve told the conference in Bali (& the rest of the world)that not only are they ‘open for business’ but they don’t mind a bit of a backhander to grease the wheels as well.

    On Q & A last night the shifty Libs tried to say well we was dun for only a couple of thou (finger wagging to Asian gentleman)not like the billion or so youse do your taxpayers for in China.

    Apart from the stench of the argument the question you always have to ask yourself before you put your hand in the till is ‘Should I…?’

    If you have to ask yourself that question it is a giant red flag to run.

    But those without conscience can easily over-ride it. They have for years.

  2. It’s always one rule for us, and one rule for the rest, with this mob.

    The hounding of Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson is still recent news, and these peccadilloes will, I think, be gleefully taken up by the media.

    I noticed our dear local Member (Bronwyn Bishop) featured in one of the wedding photographs. I will write to her office and ask if she claimed any of the expenses. I will ask for a response, in writing.

  3. Who’d have thought it? Tony and the forty thieves with their hands in the till already?

    Projection : the art of accusing others pre-emptively of what you yourself would do or have already done.

    That is exactly what they did with Slipper, and they knew enough details to make minor fiddling appear like a capital crime and with enough bombast make his life as Speaker unbearable. Together that is with the storm in a teacup over Ashby, which always was an abuse of process.

    Never has a senior office holder been torn down over less, though I may be wrong in that.

    Abbott is a serial offender in so many matters that I can safely repeat my own mantra : unfit for office, any office.

  4. Rorting travel is something all politicians do since Adam was a boy. Should we blame them? I too would probably rort the system given half a chance. So would most of the outraged lefties claiming the high moral ground.

    Julia Gillard took an RAAF jet to Northern NSW to attend a staffer’s wedding. Tim Mathieson drove a commonwealth car around Victoria to flog shampoo products to lefties. He was doing a good job, making them smell good, which I imagine was a worthwhile task. Gillard repaid over $4K back to the taxpayers on behalf of her hapless boyfriend. Should she be pilloried? Vladimir Putin stole a diamond ring brazenly in the US, claiming later it was a gift.

    Tony Abbott and the Liberals repaid their travel claims, knowing full well the Left will annoy them forever if they don’t come clean.

    Perhaps the solution is to make politicians pay their own travel expenses and produce receipts later. That would stop a lot of travel.

    • Michael Pulsford

      Sure. The question then is why Slipper wasn’t allowed to repay his expenses when Abbott et al were. If there’s a general level of leniency, it should apply across the board; if there’s pillorying it should apply across the board too.

      It’s the perception of hypocrisy that makes this a story, that after so recently making such a huge fuss about the expenses of others, the Liberals are happy to just say “Oops! Honest mistake.” and expect treatment from others they never extended themselves.

    • ALL? Moron

    • I would not.I won’t milk the clock at work.It is the same as stealing.
      When you steal you leave part of yourself behind as payment.Your soul perhaps,Frank.

    • Frank………. I thought you a little strange eccentric mayhaps? But a tea leaf? A crook no less. Than having the gall to tell us we would all do it. Frank……….

      So the Libs repaid their rorting to stop the Lefties annoying them? Nothing to do with them being caught red handed?

      Frank if they rort the system they should be prosecuted, it is stealing. All this obfuscation about the rules being unclear is bollocks.

      Being ignorant of any law is no excuse under the law. Some laws were written and were and still are in force before the turn of the century in most states of Australia, it matters not. You see Frank, being an x copper was good for something.

      The only thing you got right is, they all do it. All this proves really, is we have a load of dishonest toe rags running the country. Only your mob has the lions share.

  5. Not only that but (as I understand it) taxpayers are footing a $70,000 bill to prosecute Peter Slipper. (Could be wrong about the figure)

  6. In 1998, Abbott made a number of trips to Brisbane to meet with lawyers and Terry Sharples so he could advance legal attacks on the One Nation party. My guess is that he claimed all of that on his expenses.

  7. As all this comes out early in the Coalition’s occupancy of the treasury benches, I am reminded of the words of one of the Liberal Party’s biggest crooks Sir Robert William Askin, GCMG. Few these days would recall he was the first politician to introduce a petrol tax. He did it 6 months before an election. When asked wasn’t he concerned its imposition would cost him the election, he replied, “In six months sonny, the punters will have forgotten.”

    And so it will be with the Abbott gang.

  8. Yes now we see from scum like Frank that when Liberals are accused of rorting its “all politicians do this, its no big deal” but when Labor does its the end of the world. What an idiotic scum bag he is. Scum bag Frank.

    • How ironic that Abbott himself would rort the Australian public by charging for expenses incurred when he attended Slipper’s wedding and was best man. It ain’t personal - its business.

      • It is consistent with the person who wailed & whinged so loudly after defeat in 2007.
        ‘It is so unfair. How can I survive on a backbenchers salary? I’ve been a cabinet minister. I should be paid the same as a shadow minister. Oh whoa is me, I’ve got a $770,000 mortgage & two daughters in the best private school to support.’
        Therein lies the real Tony Abbott. A well developed sense of entitlement. And I suspect his real motivation for sharpening his knife for Turnbull, even before the EPRS emerged. Money, status, born to rule, Margie said.

    • What is worse, an honest and likeable scumbag like me, or a twisted, sanctimonious and vile scumbag like you?

      This is something you should dwell on.

    • Bob, I realise you are very busy, but surely it must be time to purge these Liberal cock heads from your blog? I don’t associate with idiots like this in real life, and I’d prefer not to here either.

      Do we really need a village idiot?

      Please Bob, wipe these fuckers out. It will be the sweetest victory.

      • Steve, you once told me you were from Sud Afrika and being a white Boer, were used to apartheid and torturing good people.
        Segregating people, labelling people cock-heads and wishing them be given a rubber necklace and set fire to when you disagree with them may be in your core DNA, but its not done here in Australia - not yet.

        Read Bob’s post on LOVE and dwell on these matters.

        • No, I never said I was a Boer. I was not born in South Africa. Where did I say that? As usual, you are full of cack.

          Further, I’m not prepared to converse with you. So go and fuck yourself. :mrgreen:

    • It’s time Frank was banned. A joke is a joke, but sheer clownish stupidity does not further anything useful

  9. This is OT but for anyone interested in the state of journalism, this is a must see.

    In it we see the BBC kowtowing to the British government, and we see a real journalist - intelligent, brave, with fire in his belly - of which we have maybe a handful in Australia I’d guess, treating the BBC with contempt and making them look contemptible and foolish

    • Australia’s Greenwald is John Pilger. I can’t think of any others who’d come close. Richard Carleton (decd.) possibly. Paul Barry.

      • Ah, take a quick look and the fabulous, - no, the legendary - name “Pilger” hits me right in the face and, at the same time, yet another deluded soul who just doesn’t know. Not for him I just add some few words, but for others who might not know anything (much).

        Some new words in the English language are created for a reason and the verb “to Pilger” was claimed by Bron Waugh as his own - used to describe the “work” of the said John Pilger. In more recent times, after many more years of his work “Pilgering” (getting a factual situation “Pilgerised”) has the more common general definition as

        “Conducting journalism in a manner supposedly characteristic of John Pilger, or, more specifically, as presenting information in a sensationalist manner to support a foregone conclusion; using emotive language to make a false political point; treating a subject emotionally with generous disregard for inconvenient detail; or making a pompous judgement on wrong premises”.

        I remember one Australian situation where his methods were on show in a silly but blatant way and that was when he did a pre-recorded televised interview with Bob Hawke and after it, re-recorded different questions to go with the recorded Hawke answers. But he has a long history and there are so many web sites to choose from, you just need to look. However, seeing that the real Guardian (not the fake Australian copycats) seems to have some credence on this blog, I have chosen to drop an article from it about the man and his work - as chief apologist for Milosevic this time – not bothering with his other pilgerisation on other issues.

        Its okay and it also shows one enduring feature: the deliberate falsification of words in an official document.

        • I trust hitting all those keys was therapeutic for your arthritis.

        • John Pilger

          John Pilger, renowned investigative journalist and documentary film-maker, is one of only two to have twice won British journalism’s top award; his documentaries have won academy awards in both the UK and the US. In a New Statesman survey of the 50 heroes of our time, Pilger came fourth behind Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. “John Pilger,” wrote Harold Pinter, “unearths, with steely attention facts, the filthy truth. I salute him.”

            • Ryutin.. I presume from your anti Pilger diatribe, it could only have come from the fact, that Pilger is one of the best investigative journalists to expose right/left wing corruption, on the planet.

              Your claim Pilger is not honest in his search for the truth, is utter nonsense.

              Like all journalists he has made mistakes, but of course in your eyes, you see this as intentional.

              The right hate Pilgers guts, because unlike most of the journalists in this country, he is prepared to tell the truth.

              For every link on the net which incidentally, are few and far between, all coming from a conservative slant, there are thousands praising this mans work.

              • As for Bron Waugh. The following from the Guardian.

                “His early career in Fleet Street was chequered, working briefly for the Peterborough column on the Daily Telegraph, then joining the Daily Mirror. The highlight of his career as a Mirrorman was in 1967. During the Six Day war he flew to Israel, where Mandy Rice-Davies was said to have gone to the front as a nurse. In fact, she was pursuing her usual honest trade as a Tel Aviv night-club hostess but, in the best Scoop tradition, Waugh had her don a nurse’s uniform for a photograph. He saw this as one of his proudest journalistic achievements,”

                You must try harder Ryutin.

    • I would nominate Paul McGeogh. Always worth reading. As is Ross Gittens.

  10. The LNP is already behind in the polls according to Morgan. An extraordinary effort so soon after an election and considering that Labor don’t even have a leader yet.

    • Yes they didn’t win by much did they. What mandate? Mandate to con the Aussie public with the help of Murdoch. People are waking up. What next?

  11. Abbott has form, I read this morning.

    And yet NOT one fucking sensible word on this matter from the liberal scum that litter these pages with their filth.
    I notice Ryutin ‘popping in’ once again to attack Pilger and no word on this rorting business, yet he couldn’t keep his mouth shut about slipper and Thomson.
    I notice Catamite Frank offering the teenage ‘but mum, everyone’ doing it’ excuse.

    Let me put this into some kind of perspective: Abbott hounded slipper, Thomson for almost 3 years and made sure that their ‘crimes’ lived on the front pages of every liberal rag right up until election day and NOW we find out he’s got FORM on this matter?! NOW we find out that WE paid for him to go off prancing in fun run’s?!
    And this is the guy who killed the school kids bonus?!
    You’re fucking kidding me?

    I want what HE wanted for slipper and Thomson: a full enquiry and a step down from his position ‘until this matter is resolved by the courts’.

    • Which of the liberal maggots here will speak to the hypocrisy?

      Or will they, once again, cower in the shadows?

    • I think we should go back to the polls. Abbott and co’s incessant trashing of Labor govt, his rorting and Murdoch’s media dominance prior to the election, is totally undemocratic. Is there a good case for disbanding this govt. and allowing the people to have a second go at it?

      • If only. It won’t happen, but if the pressure can be kept up, the next election will be a shoe-in for Labor.

        Abbott presents appallingly badly on television these days, don’t you think? Much, much worse than when he was a grinning priest with the smell of victory in his nostrils.

        • Glow Worm…Yes, Abbott is not looking good in the job. What a mess!

          I get the feeling that many leaders of other countries are not impressed either. Did you get the glimpse of him and Margie walking between the lovely Balinese women…her stoney faced and him ogling. Abbott is incorrigible lecher. So what is new!

          The fiasco in Indonesia was really about us being screwed down not to protest about their atrocities towards the West Papuans, as some sort of trade off.

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