Woke up this AM to the news that Australia’s Minister for Finance, Mathias Corrmann – THE man in charge of the country’s monetary policy and finance issues, not to mention producing a balanced budget for the Nation, has just paid back $3000 for a family holiday he and his wife and kids took 12 months ago that he had not actually paid for. Apparently it was an ‘Administrative Error’ – NOT on his part of course but on the part of the travel company the trip was booked with?
The story went on to explain that Mr Corrmann (a Belgian born Australian citizen who’s done rather well for himself here in spite of sounding like, and having a more than passing physical resemblance to, Arnie Schwarzenegger before he got his dialog coach!) had done the right thing and given his credit card details to the company for payment on his trip. (i have to assume it was his personal credit card and not his Department’s Ministerial card, or the ‘error’ may well have been picked up much sooner than when it was, which was within 24 hours of a newspaper discovering it somehow – before either the travel company’s accountants or Our Nation’s Senior Monetary Policy Planner did!) Mr Matthias has now paid (barring a second ‘administrative error’ in processing his card details) the money that was owed to the travel company for the trip previously taken and, one would hope, enjoyed by Mr Matthias’s family and no more need be said about it! 🙂
Well… not that is unless you consider the other MINOR little quibbling detail the story happened to include when reporting it to the public.
You see Mr Matthias had previously signed off on a contract his department had approved to a group to provide travel for not only himself as Minister of Finance, but also his entire departmental staff, and in fact, as it turns out, for the ENTIRE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT FOR THE NEXT 3 YEARS!! A not inconsiderable sum estimated to be worth over a billion dollars! – so what’s a measly $3000 when you’ve got that kind of money to ‘worry’ about? By some amazing coincidence he happened to accept this company’s tender and signed the contract just shortly after the time that he ‘booked’ his unpaid (until now) holiday!
By an even more amazing coincidence the company the flights and accommodation for the trip were booked with just happened to be the SAME group – Helloworld – that won the Governmental travel tender! How amazingly coincidental!
By an even more staggeringly amazingly coincidental coincidence it has now been revealed that in July 2017 Finance Minister Mathias Cormann personally asked Andrew Burnes, the chief fundraiser and Honorary Treasurer of the Liberal Party, and managing director of the government’s travel contractor, Helloworld, to book three separate return family trips to Singapore, not just the one in question. Presumably it is common practice to give your good friend and businessman your personal credit card details when asking him if he wouldn’t mind booking your family’s next three private holiday trips for you rather than having to do all that pesky typing your details in on a website or actually waiting on the phone while an operative gets around to taking your very important call for yourself? It is indeed unfortunate that in this case there was an unfortunate Administrative Error than meant that the company did not charge Mr Corrmann’s card with the cost of this one (what about the other 2 made at the same time??) trips. It is doubly unfortunate that, despite the company both knowing and showing the amount as being unpaid for over 18 months, they never once sent Mr Corrmann a friendly reminder or even a ‘Please Explain/ Final Demand’ notice requesting funds be issued for services rendered?
But like i say – what’s a measly $3000 dollars between 2 friends, one who own companies given a billion dollar contract and the other who has the power to award or deny said contract? It’s so easy for a man earning taxpayer funds to the tune of almost $400,000 per year (plus expenses) to not notice the sum of $3000 he ‘spent’ for a family holiday had not actually come off his credit balance, i’m sure (not that i will ever know)!
But hey, it’s not like you need to be good with finances to be the Finance Minister of your country now – is it?
I predict he will still be the man in charge of Australia’s government finances and all financial policy for the nation and will not ‘trip’ up right up until he and the rest of the incompetent, in-fighting government is thrown out in the May election.
It can’t come soon enough. 😦
Another view on this story was rather humourously presented here – i recommend it! 🙂