The newly elected Greens party federal MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt appears to be employing his lover Claudia Perkins as one of his three taxpayer-funded staff on a salary between $70,000 and $90,000 per annum. The extraodinary move comes after his election campaign in August pledged new – higher – standards in politics and where he argued that the federal seat of Melbourne had been “taken for granted” by Labor.
His campaign material pledged “the Greens will do what’s right” and an end to “cyncial (sic) politics”
The Greens federal leader Bob Brown has attempted to make political mileage in the past from stunts like opposing pay-rises for politicians who are paid around $130,000 per annum plus a $35,000 electoral allowance with a taxpayer funded car and free petrol etc. Many – including VEXNEWS – think we might be better off with many fewer politicians who paid quite a bit more. But the Greens party have attempted to score political points by attacking what politicians receive while their own MPs are engaged in the most ethically dubious rorts.
Tasmanian Greens Cabinet minister Nick McKim has previously slammed the ethics of MPs employing family members:
NICK MCKIM: What a number of Labor members have done in Tasmania fails the common-sense test and one moment’s thought should lead all MPs to understand that the community wants some certainty around how its money is spent by MPs and part of that certainty ought to be that MPs don’t featherbed family members by employing them in their office with taxpayers money.
In an advertisement published in the Weekend Australian, advertising two positions at levels A and B (C being the highest salary level which wasnâ€™t advertised), applicants are asked to apply to Claudia Perkins. Perkins is believed to live with Bandt in Parkville and plan to move to an $800,000 property recently purchased in Flemington.
Perkins, a former staffer to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Labor ministers, is believed to have resigned her job with the government effective election day.
Bandt has recently travelled overseas and VEXNEWS understands directed the AEC to have the declaration of the count in Melbourne held early so that he and his lady friend could go overseas.
Bandtâ€™s partner Perkins is an experienced Labor staffer but her appointment raises questions of nepotism and whether the Greens political party are engaged in the kind of indulgent, venal politics of which they are usually the first and loudest critics. The practice of MPâ€™s employing their spouses or lovers is not unlawful but is generally frowned on.
Labor sources told of the news worried that the appointment made it look like the extreme-left Greens party had an operative at the highest level of the Labor government who could have played a role in the notorious Greens-Labor co-operation agreement formed after the election about which the Greens were so enthusiastic they immediately put the staged pic of Labor and Greens MPs wearing matching lapel flowers and shaking hands in accord on the front-page of their website.