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Abbott’s expensive exercise in living humbly

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Senate documents have revealed that Tony Abbott’s cost-saving measure of not taking a $3000-a-week luxury home in Canberra for austere accommodation at the Australian Federal Police College has actually cost taxpayers $65,000.

In a report by Fairfax that describes the Prime Minister’s decision as “expensive humility”, the costs relate to lease termination fees.

After his election win Abbott was to stay in a mansion in the upmarket suburb of Forrest procured by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, while renovations were completed at the Lodge.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet set aside $156,000 for the annual lease on the mansion that was left empty when the Prime Minister announced he would prefer instead to stay at the $110-a-night police college while in Canberra.

The cost of backing out of the lease cost tax-payers $65,000 after questions from Labor lead to the release of Senate documents revealing the bungled arrangement.

The mansion featured a “large master suite with luxury bathroom and dressing room, three additional spacious bedrooms with lofts and main bathroom [and a] segregated guest suite with bathroom”, according to Fairfax, as well as a “marvellous entertaining areas … 18-metre pool with spa and elevated cabana”. It contains an “enormous basement garage for six cars”, a workshop, wine cellar, a circular driveway and electronic gates.