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Politicians Are Using Taxpayer Money To Buy A Second Home And Write Off Its Expenses

"At the time when you are asking the country to live within its means, is it time to have a look at this again?"

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Finance minister Mathias Cormann has defended the system that allows Aussie politicians to claim $273 per day to pay off a Canberra home and also write off the home's expenses on tax.

Is it time to revisit the rules around allowances for politicians? Here's @MathiasCormann's take. #insiders https://t.co/24jY2TfWZn

The Sunday Telegraph revealed that politicians were writing off "work expenses" around the house (like power bills and renovations) on top of claiming $273 per night to pay off the home's mortgage.

The finance minister was pushed hard on the scheme on ABC's Insiders, confirming he used the arrangement:

"The only reason I maintain a small unit in Canberra is because I'm required to spend much of the year here, while my family, of course, lives at our home in Perth," said Cormann.

"Of course, the house is declared on my register of interests and, secondly, the rules and arrangements are set independently by relevant authorities."

"I don't make the rules. None of us as politicians make the rules, we are expected to comply with them." Independent authorities govern the system and decide what politicians can claim as a "work expense".

Cassidy accepted that, but pushed Cormann asking, "At the time when you are asking the country to live within its means, is it time to have a look at this again?"

The finance minister said it was not something ​*the government planned to*​ look at and said they were "old rules".

The $273 per night arrangement has been known for some time and politicians like former treasurer Joe Hockey used the money to pay off the mortgage of his Canberra home.

Earlier this year, Hockey's Canberra house sold for $1.5 million.

Mark Di Stefano is a Media and Politics Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

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