Recently elected Melbourne City councillor Cathy Oke has wasted no time shoving her snout into the travel trough, with reports on Nine News and in News Limited publications about a series of trips she has planned at ratepayers’ expense that will cost $33,000.
VEXNEWS invited the councillor to explain herself to a disgusted public and it appears she has been struck dumb. We wrote to her:
Dear Councillor Oke
I refer to media reports that you are embarking on ratepayer funded $33,000 travel to various overseas destinations. We propose to do a follow-up story that explores the issues in detail.
The $33,000 bill contrasts starkly with a previous Greens party Melbourne councillor David Risstrom who travelled extensively on council business but managed to spend very little money indeed, other than on airfares. He appeared to stay at backpacker style hostels and
to eat very parsimoniously indeed. We fear he consumed a vegan variety of seeds and berries.
This meant he was very hard to criticise for travelling at ratepayer expense, except of course by those conscious – as you no doubt are – of one’s carbon footprint. What measures will you be taking to deal with the carbon consequences of these very long trips? And why are you proposing to travel so regally by comparison to your own party’s predecessors? Could you please provide us with a breakdown of how you propose to spend $33,000 on these trips? And also what is the length of the trips? With airfares as they currently are, the quantum outlined in that article seems to be almost impossible unless you are living very large indeed.
What do you say to those who believe that three different trips in such a short time is excessive? What will you be doing on such trips to justify the large expense? How are they not in breach of the Lord Mayor’s ban on junkets?
Given that you say you work as an environmental consultant, how do you respond to suggestions you might be getting ratepayers to pay for travel that could be advantageous to your business?
The Herald Sun said that you would be travelling with a member of staff. Is it envisaged that you would be sharing accommodation with that person? If not, why not?
Please feel free to contact us on the mobile 0415 99 33 26 or by return email editor[at] vexnews.com in time for our deadline of 9am
tomorrow. If you fail to respond, we will note that in the customary way.
Without divulging too many VEXNEWS secrets, it is our custom to search local newspapers for photographs of the subjects of our stories. People are forever posing with goats, donning costumes or wielding shovels in cheesy photo ops for these fine weekly publications.
It is noteworthy that despite being elected last year and it being March already that the councillor is yet to actually appear in any such shots. Too lazy even for a few photo ops. Even with a brain-shattering hang-over, Lord Mayor Doyle would still make himself available for a snapper occasionally.
She’s clearly not wanting to tilt her life-work balance too far from hippy bludger.