Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd has now become one among the world’s most travelled Foreign Ministers. He has even surpassed US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Kevin Rudd’s has clocked up more than $1 million on flights and hotel suites in his first nine months as Foreign Minister.
As per the documents, Kevin Rudd has been on 14 trips spread over 140 days. Each trip costed an average of $80,000, which is higher than the annual average family income. This cost is borne by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Australian taxpayers.
The documents, which were released under Freedom of Information, revealed that Kevin Rudd travels with an entourage of up to three advisers and staff. The documents also reveal that Kevin Rudd enjoys first and business class flights, and luxury and presidential hotel suites that cost up to $2700 a night.
On one 20-day trip in March, which took in South Africa, Egypt, Switzerland, Afghanistan, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Tunisia, Oman and Singapore, Kevin Rudd’s team racked up $174,000 in bills. This included first and business class flights for Mr Rudd of $36,800 and $13,353 in hotel rooms.
A trip to Vietnam and Germany in April cost $17,275 in first class flights for Mr Rudd, and $15,000 on business class flights for two staffers, as well as a Berlin hotel suite which cost $2696 for a single night.
But the figures provided by the department of finance were estimated costs. Mr Rudd’s office said the actual costs would be tabled by the department in due course. However, it did not say if the actual costs were higher or lower than the estimated costs.The documents revealed which hotel expenses were paid for by foreign countries. But these were not included in the overall total cost.
Mr Rudd’s office could only cite two examples in the 14 trips where the actual costs differed from estimated costs.
According to records, the total bill for Kevin Rudd’s travel for nine months was $1,093,227. That was seven times more than predecessor Stephen Smith, who spent less than $150,000 in his first six months in the job.
Between August 2010 and June 2011, Mr Rudd made 14 trips abroad visiting 41 countries, almost double the average travel of Ms Clinton.