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Road rage: Govt sees red over car claim

Date

Noel Towell

Ticked off ... MLA Jeremy Hanson says Labor is indulging in ''grubby attacks''.

Ticked off ... MLA Jeremy Hanson says Labor is indulging in ''grubby attacks''. Photo: Stuart Walmsley

Canberra Liberals MLA Jeremy Hanson has been accused by Labor of giving his wife a $40,000 taxpayer funded vehicle to drive for the duration of his re-election campaign.

The Canberra Liberals say the arrangement, where Mr Hanson uses the family car for electioneering while his wife drives the taxpayer funded vehicle, is within the Assembly's rules.

But Labor said yesterday that it was an ''arrogant exploitation,'' of the generous car allowances granted to MLAs, while Mr Hanson shot back, accusing his opponents of ''grubby attacks.''

Mr Hanson, the Liberals' health and prisons spokesman, has been driving a late model Holden Captiva emblazoned with his picture and slogans for the past several months.

While the Captiva, which Mr Hanson says is jointly owned by the couple, is being used for his re-election campaign, Mrs Hanson has been using the MLA's taxpayer provided Ford Territory, which cannot be used for electioneering purposes, for the couple's private use.

MLAs can take a car up to the value of $46,000 as part of their salaries or take an allowance of $17,000.

Mr Hanson's arrangement has been ticked off by the Assembly authorities as within the rules governing politicians' perks and entitlements, but Labor is not happy.

ACT branch secretary Elias Hallaj accused Mr Hanson of cynically using his entitlements to try to boost his re-election chances.

''I am amazed and disappointed at the continued arrogant exploitation of taxpayer funded entitlements by the Canberra Liberals,'' Mr Hallaj said.

Mr Hallaj acknowledged that the Assembly Clerk's office had considered the matter of Mr Hanson's car, and concluded that

it was technically within the guidelines.

''However, the community might see things differently,'' Mr Hallaj said. ''The bottom line is that Mr Hanson only has this campaign vehicle because he is provided with a taxpayer funded car and ultimately it's for the Canberra community to judge whether that's an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.

''Much like the $10,000 in volunteer grants the Canberra Liberals were forced to pay back, the community looks dimly on politicians exploiting loopholes in guidelines to use taxpayer funds for electioneering.''

Mr Hanson declined to be interviewed yesterday but issued a statement through his party saying that his car arrangement was within the rules and that Labor was engaging in grubby attacks.

''When your only attack is against someone obeying the rules, you're really running out of things to say,'' Mr Hanson said in his statement.

32 comments

  • Well done Noel Towell. You have again proven that instead of being a journalist, you are a labour party spin doctor! You have two stories today- one about the liberals using their government funded cars legally, and another about labour "making a small mistake" ommitting $400000 from their donations, yet the first story is the headline!
    If only labour chose a real journalist to spruik their stuff, the libs wouldnt stand a chance!

    Commenter
    madzac05
    Date and time
    September 10, 2012, 8:57AM
    • madzac05 - you might want to learn how to spell before firing off missiles at journalists. Last time I looked, the Labor Party didn't have a 'u' in it ... Also, journalists report facts. None of us should shoot the messenger ...

      Commenter
      HG
      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 12:19PM
    • HG, so journalists report facts do they? No they don't, and Towell's article is wrongly creating innuendo for a purpose that can only be seen to infer that what Hanson is doing is wrong.
      It has been approved by the Assembly but the Labor whingers don't believe that such rules should extend to the Liberals.
      So, if Mazdac05 is shooting the messenger then it is entirely appropriate.

      Commenter
      Allan-1
      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 12:38PM
    • HJ you state journalists report facts and you hope that they are,but are they doing it with out there out political view being an influence to the articles they are publishing

      Commenter
      jake
      Location
      canberra
      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 12:39PM
  • I dont think i like the emblazoned cars especially from the Liberals they seem to be everywhere and now Im wondering how much of those vehicles are purchased at our expense...its a bit of overkill maybe they should look into communicating their policies and where they are going to get all the money they are putting up in policies.

    Commenter
    Frank
    Date and time
    September 10, 2012, 9:05AM
    • Frank,
      If you read the article you would know it was his own personal vehicle that was "emblazoned" with advertising and not the council funded vehicle.

      Although I wonder why you are "especially" concerned about the liberal vehicles? Are they in some way worse than the other parties or are you simply taking an opportunity to take pot shots at the liberal party? Sad.

      Commenter
      Danomite
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 9:48AM
    • Hey Frank...Dont you watch TV..The Liberal Ads are everywhere.

      Commenter
      Channel Surfer
      Location
      Dickson
      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 11:06AM
  • so,.... MLA Jeremy Hanson cannot use his tax payer funded car for electioneering purposes so instead he uses the private family car and his family uses the tax payer funded car.....fair swap I say....and all within the rules too. What a non story.

    Commenter
    Karen
    Date and time
    September 10, 2012, 9:07AM
    • Don't you just get sick of reading this "she said he said stuff."

      As a voter I'm interested in hearing what all the parties have to offer with the upcoming elections - really don't care about what box I failed to tick or who I failed to inform to get whatever I got at alleged taxpayers cost.

      Commenter
      Fido
      Date and time
      September 10, 2012, 9:21AM
      • Why does the CT open comments on this article but not the article where ACT Labor failed to declare $400,000? Bit bias maybe?

        Commenter
        Anonygoose
        Date and time
        September 10, 2012, 9:26AM

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