Australians have real cause for concern when the Assistant Treasurer, a man sworn to protect the people's money, signs up for what appears to be worst internet deal ever and then charges it to the public purse. How can Stuart Robert justify data fees of up $2832 a month, or $90 a day, when millions of Australians have sourced plans offering unlimited data for less than $80 a month? While it would be fair to assume MPs and ministers may have special internet requirements, Robert is not just out of step with what the general public usually pays for what is now an essential service. His recent accounts have cost roughly 20 times those clocked up by the "average pollie". These still manage to spend about $300 a month on internet data despite the low-cost deals now on offer. We have been told that because the NBN wasn't available on the Gold Coast until recently Robert opted for a pricey "home wireless internet service" that apparently came with a limited data entitlement. This explanation for the huge bills seems implausible given Robert is not the only one of Australia's MPs and Senators who lived in an area which had not been connected to the NBN when these expenses were incurred. Many are from regions which are much more isolated and internet deprived than the Gold Coast. Only two other politicians spent more than $300 a month on internet in the last six months. Neither racked up cumulative bills that came within a bull's roar of those claimed back from the public purse by Robert whose account chewed up a massive 300 gigabytes of data, the equivalent of 100 hours of Netflix or Stan, in May. Given this was during the winter budget session when most Government MPs would have spent more than half the month in Canberra this seems a tad on the high side. Is this just another instance of a highly-paid politician opting for a gold plated solution to a relatively simple problem faced by pretty much every other Australian family on a daily basis because it's not coming out of their pocket? Its fair to say that if the Robert household, not the Australian taxpayers, was footing the family's internet bill a more economical solution would have been found. The core assumption seemed to be "it's other people's money, I'm entitled and it doesn't really matter". This kind of thinking doesn't pass the so-called pub test. As a member of the outer ministry Robert earns well over $300,000 a year; a pay cheque well beyond the dreams of most. This is yet another reason the current system of expense reimbursement for politicians should be canned. If MPs and Senators had to claim work related expenses back on their tax, just like the rest of us, Robert would now be engaged in a deep and meaningful chat with the ATO over just how much of what has been claimed was actually work related. It's a good bet that if our politicians were on the same playing field as the people they are elected to represent, a remarkable fall in the amount of expenses being claimed would soon occur.