Howard To Pay Back Thousands After Caught Out Using Government Jet As Private Holiday Taxi
The Australian prime minister has been caught out using a government jet to ferry him to and from his holiday on Cable Beach, in Western Australia.
The reaction from the Australian public was swift and furious. Within hours of the story breaking, Howard was getting his army of PR people to try and spin the mini-scandal. But it was too late. He offered to compensate the Australian taxpayers for the 'oversight' and then tried to claim that he had always intended to pay for the use of the jet.
Yes, of course he did.
We all believe him. No, really. We do.
So honest and open is the prime minister about telling the truth, he is now refusing to answer any more questions on the matter.
The silence that incriminates...
from the Australian :
John Howard has agreed to refund taxpayers the cost of two commercial flights after his VIP plane was forced to return to Broome yesterday to collect the Prime Minister and wife Janette after their barefoot beach holiday.
As he boarded his VIP plane last night en route to Brisbane, Mr Howard's office would not confirm whether he decided to make the refund offer before travelling to the West Australian resort town....
Mr Howard's plane was diverted to Broome to drop off the Prime Minister and his wife on Tuesday and is believed to have then travelled on to Sydney with government advisers.
(Howard) will make a donation equivalent to the cost of a commercial flight, up to $3760 one way for each Qantas business-class flight.
Mr Howard is expected to face further questions on the use of the VIP plane for his short holiday, with Labor assistant Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen saying the "Australian people would expect that a holiday should be paid for by the person having the holiday, not by them".
Mr Bowen said some families could not afford to take holidays.
"They need to have what appears to be a taxpayer-funded holiday justified to them and they can make a decision on whether John Howard's decision in this case was a proper use of taxpayers' money," he said.The Prime Minister's office said last night he would not be making any further comment on the "Labor smear".
So John Howard thinks a trip on a private jet is only worth the equivalent of two business class tickets?
If he hired a private jet to act as his private holiday taxi service he would have forked out more than $30,000 for the luxury rides back and forth across Australia.
Some government officials tried to claim that Howard had to use the jet for "security reasons".
So the Australian prime minister faces greater threats to his security than British prime minister Tony Blair?
Blair recently flew to Miami for his holidays, and took two seats on a British Airways flight. In first class, of course. The tickets were believed to be freebies, or heavily discounted. The cost to the British taxpayer for Blair's jet setting?
Maybe some day, the Australian public will get to see an audit of the vast wine collection they paid for, and pay to have restocked every year, that John Howard and his mega-millionaire mates regularly quaff their way through, as they come up with new and even more inventive ways to stitch up the Australian workers.