Australia’s Department of Finance and Administration is putting the brakes on a coveted political perk.
Currently, Members of Parliament (MPs) and their staffs who travel at public expense are allowed to keep the resulting miles earned.
At a Senate hearing in November, though, Finance official Jan Mason said that the government would like to negotiate a deal with Qantas, discontinuing the earning of miles in favor of cheaper fares.
“The New South Wales Government and a number of Commonwealth agencies have now succeeded in negotiating discounts in return for giving up the entitlement to accrue frequent flyer points,” Mason said. “Ministerial and parliamentary services … will now attempt to negotiate similar deals for travel by Senators, Members and their staff. Our prospects of success, I’m not sure. But given there are precedents, we’d be hopeful of concluding a similar deal.”
Though MPs have been encouraged to use the points to reduce the costs to the public, only nine out of 265 MPs and Senators have used points to pay for official flights.