In a stunning spending spree dubbed “tonergate” by those who append –gate to any potential political scandal, News.com.au has reported that opposition MPs in Australia blew close to $100,000 per week on office supplies last year, ahead of a change to parliamentary allowance rules.
News.com.au based its Daily Telegraph report on freedom-of-information documents that identified $300,000 spent on toner during September 2009. The Labor government had announced that new limits on office supply spending would come into effect from 1 October.
At an average price of $50 per cartridge, the Liberals would have acquired around 6,000 cartridges.
Government MPs were late to the party, only managing to scoop half as much toner out of the trough before the unlimited allowance came to an end.
The shopping surge would have caught Australian suppliers by surprise by occurring in September. Usually, the last two weeks of June see consumables crowding the exits as government departments empty out their unspent budget. ®