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© 2020 Jeffrey Robertson

Annual roasting of big spending diplomats

Monday, May 16, 2016

It's an annual event - the roasting of big spending diplomats. Every year a question on notice in the House of Representatives, the Senate or during the Senates Estimates process (an annual review of government expenditure referred to Senate Committees) the question comes up - how much Australia's diplomats spend on wining and dining.

For politicians thinking in the short-term, it's a perfect roasting - ambassadors in the most important diplomatic posts are invariably leading ex-politicians appointed by the government. Kim Beazley in Washington, Alexander Downer in London, Nick Minchin in New York. They inevitably spend amounts on wine and food that seem excessive. Often - these politicians also come across as somewhat arrogant. Years in ministerial portfolios and several years more swanning around foreign capitals can do that to a person. But diplomacy in these capitals is expensive. It's a no-brainer that they are going to be the biggest spenders. Why do we need the same report EVERY year telling us that this much money is being spent on promoting the country?


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