Aussie MP Joe "Fatcat"Hockey claims $165 Million each is OK for pollie perks - Political spending out of control
OPPOSITION treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has defended MPs' entitlements, saying they are not overly generous.
The Sunday Herald Sun today reported Federal MP entitlements could be slashed as the cost to the taxpayer for expenses has blown out to $1.65 million for each of the nation's 226 parliamentarians.
Mr Hockey defended the system, saying it covers the costs of the job.
"And when you represent more than 100,000 people .... as a member of parliament, the costs of doing business is expensive," he told Network Ten.
"Ultimately you have got to pay for democracy."
The Department of Finance has warned the Gillard Government of an expectation to reform MPs' entitlements and told them the generous scheme would cost $373 million this financial year - $1.65 million for each of Australia's 226 federal politicians.
Joe Hockey again defended the Coalition's election costings, saying Treasury does not always get it right.
The Coalition's numbers are "exactly right", he told Channel 10, despite Treasury estimating a deficit of between $7 billion and $11 billion.
"Treasury isn't always right," he said, noting "spectacular misjudgments" previously made on mining revenues and unemployment figures.
Mr Hockey wants an independent agency to undertake all future costings and says the Opposition will introduce legislation to allow for it.
Trade Minister Craig Emerson says it's "laughable" that the Coalition continues to rely on private accounting instead of Treasury analysis. And he insists the budget will be back to surplus by 2013, despite fluctuating commodity prices tied to the mining tax.
"We're heading towards a surplus and we rely, unlike the Coalition, on Treasury forecasts on commodity prices," he told Sky News.
Dr Emerson compared estimates from the mining tax with the long standing petroleum resource rent tax.
"The task of predicting oil prices over the forward estimates has never been an easy task but it hasn't meant that the budget has lacked integrity."
"In fact the Coalition got $16 billion out of the petroleum resource rent tax and it didn't bugger up their budgets."