Broadcast Ray Hadley has criticized Defence Minister Richard Marles for his use of $3.6 million in RAAF special purpose flights, accusing him of “losing touch with reality.” Documents released under freedom of information laws revealed that Marles prohibited the disclosure of data detailing RAAF flights to the public. The released logs lacked specifics regarding departure and landing locations, as well as passenger information.
Hadley accused Marles of using the military planes as a convenient mode of transportation, comparing it to using an Uber. He claimed that Marles booked these flights to avoid a longer commute and save time. Hadley expressed his frustration with the situation, stating that Marles had lost touch with reality.
In response to the criticism, Marles defended the decision not to release flight paths, citing security concerns. However, previous documents regarding special purpose flights included information such as the type of aircraft used and passenger details. The newly released logs only provide limited information such as the approval authority, domestic and international hours, cost, and portfolio of the authorized person.
Green Senator David Shoebridge submitted a freedom of information request that revealed Marles’ flights between April 2022 and June 2023 amounted to $3.6 million. Shoebridge plans to pursue further transparency and collaborate with the Coalition to question Labor in the Senate. He expressed disappointment with Labor’s lack of openness and hopes to shed light on the situation.
The lack of specific details in the released documents has prompted Shoebridge to push for transparency and accountability. He aims to rekindle the commitment to open government and hopes for cooperation from both Labor and the opposition to address the issue.