Federal MPs, staffers and their families have crashed or damaged 227 taxpayer funded cars in the past two years - one for every MP and senator in Parliament. Australia's lawmakers also have a leadfoot, running up 177 speeding fines in the past two years.
A Freedom of Information request lodged by The Sunday Mail reveals a long list of traffic infringements, fines and accidents involving the fleet of cars provided to the nation's politicians. In the past two years alone, MPs and senators' cars have been caught by 16 red light cameras. But the biggest problem seemed to be convincing MPs and staffers to pay the nation's road tolls.
There were 423 times when MPs or whoever was driving their car failed to pay the road tolls. According to the Department of Finance, there were 227 accidents recorded, a figure that neatly matches the 226 MPs and senators who serve in federal Parliament. "Infringement notices are payable by the person responsible for the infringement," the Department of Finance said.
"The Department of Finance does not automatically receive actual infringement notices for all infringement-related events. In some cases, it is sent directly to the nominated driver by the relevant authority."
"Finance does receive an administrative notice from our contracted service provider imposing a liability to pay an infringement administrative processing fee which is then invoiced to the relevant Senator or Member," the department said. MPs have previously blamed wild donkeys and kangaroos for inflicting damage on their cars or blamed other drivers.
Deputy Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce once wrote off a $75,000 Toyota Landcruiser after trying to cross a flooded creek in NSW. Liberal frontbencher Nigel Scullion came a cropper after hitting a donkey."It did a fair bit of damage and ended up with a broken leg - so I shot it," Senator Scullion said.