Australian politicians spent $500,000 on Australian flags in six months, forcing Treasury to tighten rules on allowances.
According to a report in the Australian Financial Review, Liberal MP John Alexander topped flag spending at $17,949, with independent Queensland MP Bob Katter following with $13,320.
Despite his penchant for a flag filled press conference, Tony Abbott did not spend anything on them during the six months period of 2014 on flags.
Overall, 90 Liberal and National MPs forked out $330,000 on flags with Labor members spending $130,000.
Before July 1 2015, politicians could hand out an unlimited number of flags to certain organisations like RSLs and schools. They were also permitted to give out $900 worth of desktop and miniature flags and 50 large flags to individuals.
After July 1 2015, federal politicians flag allowance was changed to fall within their “single office budget” of $98,000 for senators and $130,000 for MPs.
A spokesperson for Mr Alexander said his flag budget went to Rotary Clubs who sponsor students’ overseas travel, nursing homes and various community groups.
Mr Katter told Australian Financial Review: “I’m utterly ashamed of myself that I was number two. I have a lot of work to do.”
“It shows monumental stupidity and a total lack of Australianness in the government,” he said of the new cap on flag spending.
National MP Bruce Scott, who was the third highest spender at $12, 235 said the flag budget was “extremely well spent”.
“I will not stop giving out flags, because I think it is a great symbol that unites us regardless of our ethnicity, religion or our status in the community.”
The Greens spent $11,270 on flags, the Palmer United Party $2,330 and the Independents $26,330.