Dumped treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision to quit politics mid-term has cost taxpayers more than $450,000 in by-election expenses.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull removed Mr Hockey as treasurer when he assumed the leadership in September, sparking the former member for North Sydney’s resignation from Parliament.
Liberal candidate Trent Zimmerman — a former staffer for Mr Hockey — last weekend won the safe Liberal seat despite a swing against the Government.
Recent listings on the Government’s tender website show nearly $35,000 was spent on Australian Electoral Commission advertising, along with more than $15,000 on printing.
More than $70,000 was also spent on venue hire, while delivering the official household guide cost $75,000.
Spending of less than $10,000 is not published.
Mr Hockey was, this week, officially named Australia’s next Ambassador to the United States and is set to start in Washington next month.
In an interview released earlier this week, Mr Hockey said: “If I was going to stay it would have to be overwhelmingly about getting even with people that brought me down.”
Labor’s waste watch spokesman Pat Conroy said the former treasurer’s reason for leaving Parliament early is not good enough.
“Well this is Joe Hockey’s final insult to the Australian public, to cost taxpayers a completely unnecessary half-a-million dollars for this by-election when he admits freely the only reason he left Parliament was if he’d stayed he would have just plotted revenge against Malcolm Turnbull and the plotters who brought down Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey,” Mr Conroy said.
“Usually these things occur if people are sick or they’ve got personal reasons, but to resign less than a year out from an election just to take another government gig is quite appalling I would say.”