Retired politicians will no longer be able to enjoy free taxpayer-funded business class flights, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull moving to axe a perk which has been prized by the pollies but despised by the public.
A tightening of entitlements for federal politicians will see the 'Gold Pass' travel card scrapped immediately, despite the protestations of some Coalition MPs who are perhaps eying their own retirement in the not-too-distant future.
Some 200 former MPs will be hit by the changes, saving taxpayers an estimated $1.5 million per year.
Former prime ministers will still be entitled to free business class travel, although multi-millionaire Turnbull has said he won't be doing so once he leaves office.
PREVIOUS | Australia’s federal MPs have been granted a short-term respite for their cherished VIP 'gold travel pass’ which entitles them to a lifetime of free business class flights funded by the taxpayer.
The contentious Life Gold Pass provides retired members of the Federal Parliament and their partners with 10 free return domestic business class flights each year.
Despite plans to scrap the prized perk in the 2014 budget, the necessary bill won't be rolled out by the Turnbull government until 2017.
"Special Minister of State Scott Ryan said last month he planned to reintroduce the Abbott government-era bill to kill off the controversial entitlement before Parliament rose for the Christmas break", reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
"But now with just four sitting days remaining, Senator Ryan concedes it's unlikely the bill will emerge – even though it would sail through both chambers with the support of Labor, the Greens and the crossbench."
An estimated 200 former MPs are said to currently enjoy the scheme, which puts the 'free' into frequent flyer at annual cost of $1.5 million to the taxpayer.
The 2014 budget bill intended to axe the Life Gold Pass after January 1, 2020 except for former prime ministers, and retrospectively remove it from the wallets of MPs who retired before May 30, 2011.
The current allocation of ten free trips per year for a former MP's life was to be pared back to ten annual trips for only the first three years of retirement, although ex-ministers will see that period doubled to six years. In addition, those trips would no longer include the partners of former MPs.