Did Senator Abetz get taxpayers’ help for his ‘faith flights’?

While many conservative members of parliament have made the pilgrimage to the annual Church & State event in recent years, it appears that Senator Eric Abetz may have called on taxpayers to help pay his way to the fundamentalist Christian fest.

On the evening of 28 February 2020, Abetz was a guest speaker at the event in Brisbane, talking on the topic: ‘People need a moral compass to authorise government to encourage good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour.’

The Noosa Temple of Satan has discovered that the Tasmanian senator charged taxpayers a total of $1547 to fly from Canberra to Brisbane on the same day, then returning to Canberra on 1 March. The details of the flights are listed on the website of the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority.

From what we can gather, the rules on what can be claimed as a travel expense do not cover interstate travel for personal reasons.

Members of parliament can claim interstate flights to attend a formal meeting of the political party or a national, state or territory party conference. Ministers who travel interstate as part of their portfolio duties can also claim expenses. At that time, however, Abtez did not have a ministerial portfolio.

Brother Samael Demo-Gorgon is calling on Senator Abetz to explain the travel expenses.

“No member of parliament should be dipping into taxpayers’ money to pay for trips across the country to take part in personal religious activities. If he has no good explanation, then Senator Abetz should immediately pay the money back,” he said.

Despite the public concerns about the fundamentalist nature of the Church & State event, many government members of parliament have continued to appear as guest speakers. These include Senator Amanda Stoker, Senator Matt Canavan and George Christensen.Since our temple resurfaced a photo of event organiser Dave Pellowe with the Proud Boys and reported on the comments of the Australian Christian Lobby’s Martyn Iles in suggesting the need for an international military conflict to turn around cultural trends in Australia, the nature of the Church & State event has been a hot topic in Christian and mainstream media.

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