Friday, 5 September 2008

$2.5m in perks as the GGs ride high

LAVISH taxpayer-funded perks and pension benefits for former governors-general will blow out to more than $2.5 million a year with the retirement of Major-General Michael Jeffery.

These are details - and the huge cost to taxpayers - of the exclusive vice-regal retirement club that Maj-Gen Jeffery is about to join.

Perks include first-class domestic travel, a staff member, a furnished CBD office, security detail, taxis and chauffeur-driven car and even free magazine subscriptions.

There is even an automatic all-expenses paid trip to London after retiring from duties to "take leave of Her Majesty the Queen".

With the swearing in of new Governor-General Quentin Bryce today, Maj-Gen Jeffery will join five former governors-general Sir Zelman Cowan, Sir Ninian Stephen, Bill Hayden, Sir William Deane and Dr Peter Hollingworth.

The total bill to taxpayers for office space, staff and travel and other incidentals in 2007-08 for the five retirees was $1,000,223, documents obtained under Freedom of Information show.

The travel bill alone was $171,063. Former governors-general are entitled to a pension of $260,142, equal to 60 per cent of the salary of the High Court Chief Justice.

The combined cost of these pensions comes to about $1.3 million, but a precise figure is problematic as pension entitlements must be deducted to stop "double dipping".

Dr Hollingworth, who resigned after serving less than two years in office, may be costing the most, with a total taxpayers' bill last year of $509,081 and no other public pension entitlement. He maintains an office on Level 21, 101 Collins St, Melbourne which cost taxpayers $111,310 in rent and utilities.

The documents indicate Maj-Gen Jeffery is likely to cost more than $400,000 a year in retirement.

In response to questions last night, spokesman Stephen Jiggins said Mr Jeffery would focus on charitable activities, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service, The Kokoda Track Foundation and "military bodies including some associated with war memorials".

Bill Hayden cost more than $500,000, but said he received inquiries about his historical recollections or seeking his support for specific policies.

Australian Republican Movement NSW convenor Jason Falinski said the cost of maintaining retired governors-general "was reflective of how archaic the office is".

"It's just another example of how silly that job has become," Mr Falinski said.

Bryce to be sworn in as G-G

Australia's newest Governor-General will make history today as the first woman in the job.

Quentin Bryce will officially become Australia's 25th Governor-General when she takes her oath at Parliament House in Canberra this morning.

The 65-year-old relinquished her role as Queensland's governor in July, and will replace Major-General Michael Jeffery as Governor-General.

Ms Bryce broke new ground as one of the Queensland's first female barristers and law lecturers.

She was also a federal sex discrimination commissioner and human rights advocate.

When Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the appointment, he named Ms Bryce's strong commitment to the bush and Indigenous Australians as key reasons for her selection.

Ms Bryce says one of her priorities will be helping to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.


The Secret Rulers of the World The Secret Rulers of the World - Present/Past [part 1 of 29] You Tube Video The source of most if not all our woes, revealed (from the present to the past): Connecting the dots through ~3000 years of revisionist human history, spanning from the time of the pharaohs, all the way up to the present dynasties creating the New World Order, in a quest to perfect the enslavement of mankind. From pirates to banksters, to the ruling elite, who run the world's finances, the media and cover both side of nearly every conflict or war: the world may make more sense after watching this. See additional episodes on the sidebar. In particular 9. The Secret Rulers of the World - The Queen and 12. The Secret Rulers of the World - The Cult of Amen and 13. The Secret Rulers of the World - Committee of 300 and 14. The Secret Rulers of the World - Rothschild. That truth will set you free.

No comments: