Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mmmm, Silky

Howard Just Can't Stop Spending Your Money On "Life's Luxuries"

When more than a million Australian families are struggling to make their mortgage payments, when massive debts and interest rate rises are crippling the lifestyles of millions more, and when everyday expenses like food, petrol and electricity costs are on the rise, causing even more financial hardship, it's not a real good look for the prime minister to be exposed, yet again, lavishing luxuries on himself under the guise of professional expenses.

John Howard is facing yet another storm of controversy and heavy criticism over his kingly ways with the taxpayers money.

A storm has erupted over a $100,000 refurbishment of his prime ministerial jet. Does silk wallpaper at $9000 a roll sound outrageous to you?

It's also been revealed the PM spent more than $600,000 flying between his Sydney home and Parliament House in Canberra. Prime ministers traditionally live in the supplied Canberra residence, close to Parliament. That old house in Canberra wasn't good enough for Howard and his "I deserve better" brainspace, so he seized control of one of Australia's most beautiful properties, Kirribilli, directly across Sydney Harbour from the Opera House. He has occupied the publicly owned building for almost 11 years and hosted numerous, expensive dinners and cocktail parties for his friends and colleagues there.

A few months ago, Howard faced a climate of outrage when it was revealed he was spending another $170 million on propaganda to make his government look good.

And then there was the $540,000 Howard tried to spend on renovations to a private dining room, before he was publicly embarrassed into pulling the plug on that waste of money.

A spokesperson for the opposition government's Accountability department said :
“Nobody begrudges John Howard his personal taste for life's luxuries, but when public money is involved, he ought to exercise restraint...”

Whether the PM is blowing truckloads of taxpayers money on luxuriating his own lifestyle is not a debate that ever looks good for Howard. And it looks particularly bad only a few months out from a federal election when his government is doing so very poorly in the polls.

An all in comment brawl has broken out here. Spot the Howard advisers and spin controllers trying to pretend to be just ordinary punters, who see no problems with the prime minister giving himself the best of the best, time and time again. There's quite a few to be found.

LP : Gummo Trotsky provides a lovely picture of John Howard in all his silky finery.