I DON'T know how anyone can seriously think there is any uncertainty over whether taxpayers should pay for their elected representatives to fly across the country to attend weddings, ie., drink, eat and dance.
While it can be a bit of an effort making small talk with the bride's great-aunt, weddings are not work meetings.
They should absolutely not be considered work of any kind.
To say that it is is quite an insult to the bride and groom, not to mention the broader public who are picking up the tab.
It's dodgy practices like this that fuel the public's cynicism about the life of a politician.
The perception that politicians are spending a fair amount of time on lavish junkets and socialising on the public purse plagues any debate about politicians' salaries.
Tasmanian MPs' salaries and entitlements are being reviewed right now.
The review is the result of the Mexican standoff between government and the upper house over how to determine the right amounts.
Politicians are understandably wary about tackling the fraught issue.
There is really no way any politician can win by touching that issue, but it still has to be dealt with.
To debunk some of the overly negative perceptions that politicians are being well paid for doing next to no work, the Tasmanian Industrial Commission this week released a discussion paper setting out exactly what they got paid and their benefits.
Compared to the relatively generous federal system, at the state level, there's a lot less on offer.
For example, while Tasmanian Labor Senators Lisa Singh and Catryna Bilyk bought up big on books for donations or their personal library using taxpayer- funded entitlements - they could not do that if they were state MPs.
And while most of us are careful with our phones overseas, Senator Singh seems to have used hers with apparent abandon, racking up $8000 in overseas mobile charges in just six months.
That would be unheard of for a state politician - as it should be.
At state level, a handful of entitlements covers the basics of telecommunications and accommodation and meals when Parliament sits.
I'm not suggesting they're doing it tough by any means - what with their six-figure salary plus perks including a car and iPad - but the rewards are not undeserved.
One aspect of the review is a work-value assessment.
As a close observer of politics, I don't know how anyone can doubt how hard politicians work.
Whether you agree with their views or not, they deserve recognition for the long hours they put in, either at Parliament or working their electorate.
What is frustrating is the lack of transparency in the Tasmanian system.
Federal MPs must provide six- monthly expenditure reports, which are made public a few months later.
Anyone can go online and trawl through these documents to see exactly how many flights MPs took and how much they spent on personalised stationery.
We are in fact eagerly awaiting the next release so we can see how much our defeated federal representatives burned through in their last months in Parliament.
But there is no such scrutiny at the state level.
Entitlements are signed off by the clerks of the upper or lower houses and remain forever hidden, protected by an exemption from Right to Information.
Why the secrecy? I suspect it's more laziness than a deliberate attempt to bury the figures.
But it's difficult to make the argument that our state MPs are modest users of taxpayer-funded entitlements without the figures to back it up.