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Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley will stand aside without pay while a review is undertaken into claiming of travel entitlements for a May 2015 trip to the resort city where she impulse purchased a $795,000 apartment from a Liberal Party donor.
This comes not even eighteen months after Brownwyn Bishop’s Choppergate, that saw her resign after her abuse of travel entitlements that saw her take a helicopter from Melbourne to Liberal Party function Geelong, a distance that is easily covered by car or train.
However, Federal Politicians aren’t the only ones being held accountable by the tax-payer.
Labor Party leaders have today delved into the fact that over 61,000 Australians travelled by tax-payer funded helicopters throughout south-east Asia to attend a series of Liberal Party Functions between 1962 –1972.
In 1962, Prime Minister Robert Menzies and the rest of his Liberal Government sent 30 Australian military advisers to Vietnam to help train the South Vietnamese Army. In November 1964, the Commonwealth Parliament reintroduced compulsory military service for 20-year-old men.
By early 1965, Menzies announced the decision to send a battalion of combat troops to Vietnam. The Australian Labor Party (ALP) and its leader Arthur Calwell were strongly opposed to Australia taking part in the war. In June, Menzies declared that Australia was at war in Vietnam. This resulted in thousands of tax-payer funded helicopter rides.
The official estimate of the cost of Vietnam war for Australia was $218.4 million from 1962 to March 1972 – not including the death, suffering and trauma that the predominantly working class Australian personnel were exposed to.
This was Australian’s biggest military commitment until the recent war on Afghanistan.
Current leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten MP has said that his party were always vehemently opposed to the idea of the Vietnam War, and that he probably would have done something about it if he was alive at the time.
“I probably would have. It’s hard to tell”
“But Christ. Everyone’s getting worked up about a tax-payer flight trip to the Goldie… How about that ten year military exercise in Indo-China?”
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