Fairfax have put all 17,000 pages of expenses claims online. They want your help to review them all. Go this page and it will then assign you a page yet to be reviewed. A great way to share the burden.
They even have a guide as to what to look out for:
1) Items that cost much more than they should (eg: $1000 suits, $200 bottles of wine)
2) Spending lots of money in short periods of time (eg: $1000 in restaurant bills is alright for a month, not for a day)
3) Strange explanations from MPs (Do they keep losing their luggage on overseas trips? Do they give vague reasons for large bills?)
4) No details on the bill (eg: $2000 on “room charges” in a hotel bill, with no more info).
5) Things that have no business being paid for by the public (eg: movie tickets, new cars, home electricity bills)
This is an excellent initiative. What I especially like about it is how you don’t have everyone covering the first few pages. You can give feedback to their reporters on what pages to check more closely.
In some ways it is similar to what many US states have done – put their entire cheque register for all agencies online. Then you get a legion of armchair auditors going through them.
I’m currently going through Judith Tizard’s expenses and finding notes complaining there are no receipts or details. The only response is she took some arts people to dinner.
It would be great if enough readers can review claims to get though all 16,522 pages in a day. No doing your normal jobs until they are all reviewed! 🙂