A FLURRY of flyers by Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson was “blatant waste and political bribery”, independent candidate Mark Rodda said, as he called for a six-month ban on MP’s advertising spending prior to an election.
Under their parliamentary entitlements, sitting members are eligible for up to $91,805 to spend on electorate communication.
However, with a blackout on parliamentary entitlements coming in to effect on Australia Day, Cr Rodda said it was clear some MPs, such as Mr Anderson, were going on a last-minutes spend of taxpayers’ funds “for blatant party-political advertising masquerading as information flyers”.
“This week alone, some voters have complained to me that they had received four flyers issued by the Nationals with blatant party-political devices such as the candidates name and picture,” Cr Rodda said.
“With an election just two months away it is a blight on democracy that the taxpayers of NSW are paying major parties like the Nationals to promote themselves this close to an election out of the public purse.
“It is simply unfair and an unnecessary impost on taxpayers.”
However, Mr Anderson said the production of information brochures was a normal part of the sitting MP’s job.
“It’s something that is done every year and under the approval of the parliamentary entitlements process,” Mr Anderson said.
“It’s something we do day-in day-out.”
Cr Rodda said it was “quite clear” the blackout on parliamentary entitlements needed to be enforced six months before an election.
“While I acknowledge that complaining about a few taxpayer-funded flyers may seem petty, it is the impact on our democracy that I am concerned about,” Cr Rodda said.
“This sort of expensive blatant party-political promotion has the odour of electoral bribery.”
“Surely they could do it with just one mail out, costing the taxpayers far less.”