Age of entitlement

Stephan Knoll says the wording around the expenses claims form which has tripped up a host of country-based MPs is “ambiguous”.
Treasurer Rob Lucas described the behavior of his regional colleagues as “sloppy” while Joe Average says this scandal proves the age of entitlement is alive and well on North Terrace.
Two of these assessments are wrong.
If former Transport Minister Knoll was confused by the “ambiguous” wording surrounding the system under which he was allowed to claim $234 each night he spent away from his home, then he should have asked. But he didn’t.
He just kept on signing the claim form in his bewildered state every month and reaping the rewards.
The observations made by Mr Lucas show he is playing politics and it is impossible to imagine him offering such a tepid character analysis had a string of Opposition MPs been in the frame.
No, it appears the assessment of Joe Average is on the money – so to speak.
And it is hard to argue against this when the final paragraph on the claim form – immediately above where the MPs sign their name – reads: “I was required to stay in Adelaide overnight on the dates shown above … and that I incurred the expenses claimed above in doing so”.
There’s nothing ambiguous about this sentence when viewed through the eyes of Mr and Mrs Average, but for some strange reason things are not as clear when observed by those reaping the benefits.
If the claimants were legitimately incurring an expense of $234 per night – as the form clearly states – there would not be a problem. But they were not.
Mr Knoll – who stays at his parents’ house while pocketing the money – has steadfastly refused to outline exactly how he incurred the $234 nightly expense.
It appears the MPs have simply been lining up for the money as some form of ‘hardship’ entitlement.
No one would begrudge any employee a bonus if regularly required to stay away from home, and that includes regional MPs.
But it appears this type of compensation is outdated and open to abuse.
No other public servant is employed under such a loose scheme, with the monthly claim form having all the complexity of a school tuck shop lunch order!
Perhaps regional MPs should just be paid a higher wage to allow for the inconvenience of being regularly away from their families.
Clearly they can’t be trusted to read and comprehend what they are signing … or ask questions if uncertain. And we all foolishly though the age of entitlement was over.