Oh, look – the judges are chewing up millions on travel and attending conferences

January 12, 2012

Nice work by Vernon Small at The Dom-Post today.

He has flushed out figures showing judges have clocked up more than $18 million on travel and accommodation over the past three years.

Among these were five overseas trips where Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias took her husband Hugh along at taxpayers’ expense.

Hugh who?

Oh, yes. Business tycoon Hugh Fletcher, who used to be chief executive of Fletcher Challenge and whose family’s wealth is reckoned to be $70 million, although Alf is always bemused about how the newspapers make that sort of calculation.

In thise case the reckoning was done by the National Business Review, which last year ranked the wider Fletcher family 53rd equal on its rich list.

Anyway, Hugh dutifully accompanied Dame Sian to the Caribbean Turks and Caicos islands in 2009-10 for a Commonwealth Magistrates Judges Association conference.

In the same year he accompanied her to the United States, London and Melbourne.

Perhaps she relies on him to keep her judges’ robes clean and ironed on these occasions, or some such.

So what are the rules about who pays for Hugh’s travels with his missus?

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