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Aust'n gov't scraps controversial Parliamentary perk after public backlash
Last Updated: 2017-02-17 09:21 | Xinhua
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The Australian government has overnight scrapped a controversial Parliamentary perk which allowed former federal politicians to travel on the taxpayer dollar, in what is the latest step in the crackdown on MP expenses.

Following the nation's "expenses scandal", in which Health Minister Sussan Ley stepped down following revelations she used taxpayer money to fly to the Gold Coast to purchase property, the Senate voted to scrap the Life Gold Pass which allowed retired ministers to take ten free, return domestic business class flights each year.

The Senate also voted in favor of implementing a Parliamentary perks watchdog which would oversee MP expenses.

Australia's Special Minister of State, Scott Ryan told the Senate that the new changes would go a long way to regaining public faith in the Parliamentary system.

"The Life Gold Pass for parliamentarians is a relic of a bygone era. Politicians must be accountable for their use of taxpayer dollars," Ryan said.

"These important and timely reforms will be delivered in the coming months."

The decision to scrap the perks didn't come without opposition, however; Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald was a vocal in support of the perks, saying Parliamentarians work too long and too hard -- "in a job where there's no privacy and no down time" -- not to receive some benefits after their life in Canberra.

"I think history will show this taking away of rights retrospectively was wrong. It shouldn't be allowed in our society," he told the Senate.

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