Howard tops ex-PMs in perks
FIVE of Australia's surviving former prime ministers have cost taxpayers almost $1 million in travel and office expenses in 12 months.
John Howard, Australia's second longest-serving prime minister, topped the list with a bill of almost $300,000 for the 2010-11 financial year, documents released by the Department of Finance and Deregulation revealed.
Entitlements for the five former prime ministers totalled $984,880 for the 12 months.
On top of their generous parliamentary pensions, former prime ministers are entitled to taxpayer-funded support, "in recognition of public service", in the form of domestic airfares - for themselves and family - an office and staff and a car.
In 2001 Mr Howard, as prime minister, announced entitlements of former prime ministers, governors-general and life gold passholders would be made public every six months.
The former Liberal PM's Sydney office cost more than $255,000 to run in 2010-11.
Mr Howard racked up a travel bill of almost $38,000, with that figure comprising an almost even split between car costs and airfares.
Malcolm Fraser was next on the list with taxpayers forking out more than $255,000.
Mr Fraser, who last week turned 82, spent $194,954 on his office and almost $34,000 in car costs.
His airfares totalled $12,269.
The man Mr Fraser successfully deposed as prime minister in 1975, Gough Whitlam, cost taxpayers the least of all the former prime ministers with a total spend of $137,832.
Fellow former Labor MPs Paul Keating ($149,423) and Bob Hawke ($144,603) also came in well below their conservatives counterparts.
What the five surviving former PMs costs taxpayers in 2010-11*:
*Entitlements paid by the Department of Finance and Deregulation. Figures are totals for 2010-11 financial year and taken from documents tabled in parliament.