Paul Keating, John Howard’s car crash claims revealed
FORMER prime minister Paul Keating made five "accident excess" claims for damage to his private-plated car totalling $2500 in a single quarter while his successor John Howard claimed $500.
It can also be revealed at least 41 politicians - almost 20 per cent of serving members - have made accident excess claims since January last year, costing taxpayers more than $27,000.
The lawful claims, which are "paid at government expense", ranged from kangaroo collisions and parking lot fender benders to car door dings and weather damage.
Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) records show Mr Keating made five claims for accident excess - each worth $500 - in the July 2017 quarter.
He did not respond to a request for comment and it's not known if the claims relate to the one incident.
Meanwhile, Mr Howard lodged one $500 excess claim on February 18 2017.
His spokesman said it was for "hail damage" and made "in accordance with the strict guidelines".
The former prime ministers retain access to private-plated vehicles for transport.
Australian Taxpayers' Alliance policy director Satya Marar said politicians should be "subject to the pub test and not just the guidelines test".
"If you find an MP who is claiming a very significantly above average amount of excess every year on their car then maybe there needs to be a conversation about whether there are alternative means of transport," he said.
Mr Marar also questioned whether MPs with "terrible driving abilities" should be made to bear a greater cost of the accident excess.
"It's all about bringing the public sector in line with the private sector in terms of accountability," he said.
Lyons MP Brian Mitchell filed a $500 excess claim on July 10 last year, saying the fleet manager insisted on taking "dings and scrapes" out of the side panels.
However he said that "if it was a parliamentarian's job to pay, that's fine".
"Whatever the rules are that's perfectly fine by me but nobody has come to me with a bill for the excess," he said.
Senator Scott Ryan was among MPs who claimed for excess last year, lodging two claims worth $500 each on March 31 and July 5.
"In at least one instance, damage was caused by an unknown third party while the vehicle was parked and unattended," his spokesman said.
Barker MP Tony Pasin also made two claims totalling $1000 on January 31 and July 18.
His spokeswoman said both accidents were with kangaroos.
Lingiari MP Warren Snowdon made a $500 claim on November 15 last year after his Commonwealth-leased car was stolen.
"The claim you refer to, related to damage done to the vehicle after it was stolen and recovered by police," his spokesman said.
A Department of Finance spokeswoman said any accident excess is "paid by the Australian Government through the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services Division in the Department of Finance and reported against the relevant parliamentarian's vehicle expenditure".
Politicians who have claimed for insurance accident excess since the start of 2018:
Senator Richard Colbeck: 4 Jun. 18 $500.00
Senator Scott Ryan: 31 Mar 18 $500.00 AND 5 Jul. 18$500.00
Senator Ian Macdonald: 3 Oct. 18 $500.00
Senator Gavin Marshall: 21 Nov. 17 $454.55
Senator Catryna Bilyk: 1 May 18 $500.00
Senator Penny Wong: 6 Nov. 18 $500.00
Ann Sudmalis MP: 30 Jul. 18 $454.55
Luke Howarth MP: 5 May 18 $500.00
Tony Pasin MP: 18 Jul. 18 $500.00 AND 31 Jan 18$500.00
Luke Gossling MP: 5 Jun. 18 $500.00
Meryl Swanson MP: 18 Oct. 18 $454.55 AND 18 Oct. 18$454.55
Emma Husar MP: 29 Mar 18 $500.00
Tony Burke MP: 12 Nov. 18 $500.00
Milton Dick MP: 16 Jan 19 $500.00 AND 27 Feb. 18$500.00 AND 27 Feb. 18$500.00
Warren Snowdon MP: 15 Nov. 18 $500.00
Bert van Manen MP: 25 Aug. 18$500.00
Peter Khalil MP: 4 Apr. 18 $500.00
Pat Conroy MP: 13 Sep. 18 $454.55 AND 13 Sep. 18 $454.55
Kevin Andrews MP: 24 Aug. 18 $500.00 AND 14 Sep. 18$500.00
Llew O'Brien MP: 26 Jun. 18 $500.00
Sarah Henderson MP: 4 Oct. 18 $454.55
Jim Chalmers MP: 6 Aug. 18 $500.00
Catherine King MP: 8 Aug. 18 $454.55
Angus Taylor MP: 20 Sep. 18 $454.55
Michael Danby MP: 13 Sep. 18 $1,363.65
Matt Thistlethwaite MP: 5 Oct. 18 $500.00
Josh Wilson MP: 19 Feb. 18 $500.00
Senator James Paterson: $454.55: 30 Dec. 2018
Jacinta Collins MP: $500 12 Oct. 2018, AND $909.11 17 Dec. 2018
Lucky Wicks MP: $454.55 14 Aug. 2018 AND $454.55 14 Aug. 2018
Rebekha Sharkie: $500 4 Feb. 2018
David Feeney: $500 1 Feb. 2018
David Bushby: $500 1 Sep. 2018 and $500 8 Nov. 2018
Michelle Rowland: $500 14 February 2019
Arthur Sinodinos: $500 12 Dec. 2018
Andrew Gee: $500 28 Dec. 2018
Linda Reynolds: $500 23 May 2018 AND $500 4 July 2018 AND $500 21 Sep. 2018
Brian Mitchell: $500 10 July 2018
Cathy O'Toole: $500 18 April 2018
Jason Clare: $500 20 April 2018
Ross Hart: $500 23 Feb. 2018
Responses from MP's offices:
- Defence Minister Linda Reynolds' office said:
"The personal private vehicle underwent repair works on three occasions for minor damage including to the car front and door.
"Parliamentarians may request a Commonwealth-leased private plated vehicle (PPV), as part of their remuneration.
"An accident excess payment is an expense incurred by a parliamentarian when an insurance claim is processed."
- Lyons MP Brian Mitchell said:
The fleet manager insisted on taking "dings and scrapes" out of the side panels.
- Senator Scott Ryan's office said:
"In at least one instance, damage was caused by an unknown third party while the vehicle was parked and unattended.
"Insurance claims were submitted in accordance with relevant rules and regulations."
- Energy Minister Angus Taylor's office said:
"The claim referred to was made and reported in accordance with the Department of Finance rules."
- Lingiari MP Warren Snowdon's office said:
"The claim you refer to, related to damage done to the vehicle after it was stolen and recovered by police."
- Barker MP Tony Pasin's office said:
"Both accidents were with Kangaroos.
31 January 2018 - 1.15am Riddoch Highway, South of Nangwarry (he had a Health forum in Mount Gambier that night and a BlackSpot committee meeting in Adelaide the next morning).
18 July 2018 - 6pm Halfway House Road, Sedan (on his way from Mount Gambier to Blanchetown for a community meeting)".
- Calare MP Andrew Gee's office said:
"It's believed the excess relates to a kangaroo strike on the Cargo Road near Orange, which was reported in August and repairedin November."
- Melbourne MP Andrew Bandt's office said:
"The car was not involved in an accident but had minor scrapes on it and was repaired in accordance with department policy."
- Finance Minister Mathias Cormann's office said:
"The Government does not comment on individual parliamentarians' work expenses or remuneration".
"An accident excess payment is an expense incurred by a parliamentarian," she said.
"The payment is incurred when an insurance claim is processed.
"The Department of Finance pays the excess and attributes the expense to the individual parliamentarian's other car costs, which are published quarterly by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority.
"Parliamentarians may request a Commonwealth-leased private plated vehicle (PPV), as part of their remuneration."
- The Department of Finance said:
"Where an accident involves an insurance claim, sg fleet liaises with the government insurer, Comcover.
"Any excess is paid by the Australian Government through the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services Division in the Departmentof Finance and reported against the relevant parliamentarian's vehicle expenditure.
"Further information can be found in the following sgfleet fact sheet."