Big spenders - Dumped pollies' final fling

DUMPED Labor federal politicians flooded their electorates with printed material paid for by taxpayers, spending more than $100,000 each in the weeks leading up to the September federal election.

Department of finance documents, released this week, show former Labor Lyons MHR Dick Adams was the biggest spender on printing, racking up a $103,000 bill in four weeks alone leading up to the election.

Former Bass MHR Geoff Lyons also spent $116,000 on printing and communications between July and the election on September 7 and former Braddon MHR Sid Sidebottom spent $96,000. 

While it did not save her Labor colleagues, the $100,000 worth of printed material sent out to Franklin households by Labor incumbent Julie Collins helped her survive the swing against Labor and hang on to her seat. 

The printing and communications spending tallies also included web design. 

The finance department records also show Launceston-based Senator Helen Polley chartered a light plane for another two return trips from Launceston to Hobart.

The trips were taken before June 30 last year but reimbursed during the most recent six-month claim period.

They take the number of return trips between the state's two major centres to 18 in two years, costing more than $27,000. 

Senator Polley has refused to provide details about the purpose of these trips, saying only they were to conduct electorate business. 

Senator Polley also enjoyed a two-week trip to Cyprus and Russia, along with fellow Tasmanian Senator Catryna Bilyk, in July, costing taxpayers about $20,000 each. 

Ms Collins was the only other Tasmanian politician to go overseas on parliamentary business in the second half of last year, leading the Australian government's delegation to Bangladesh for the Commonwealth Women's Affairs Ministers meeting. Her trip cost $15,408. 

Senior government minister Eric Abetz was Tasmania's biggest spender, claiming $229,000 for the six-month period, including flights across the country and office administration costs.

Labor Senator Carol Brown spent the most of Tasmanian politicians on office renovations, followed by incoming Liberal MHR Eric Hutchinson, who also spent almost $30,000 setting up a new electorate office.

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