Former prime minister John Howard
Former prime minister John Howard Scott Powick

We pay nearly $6000/week for John Howard's expenses

FORMER Liberal prime minister John Howard accounted for almost a third of the taxpayer-funded entitlements received by our former leaders in the first six months of the year.

Mr Howard spent $151,833 - or almost $6000 a week - on domestic flights, car travel, office costs, telecommunications and family travel.

Australia's five surviving prime ministers racked up more than $473,000 expenses between January and June, a report tabled in the Parliament late last week revealed.

The bulk of Mr Howard's expenditure went on running his office, including rent, power, cleaning, security, repairs and maintenance costs.

These costs came to a tick over $120,000, while printing costs, newspaper subscriptions and telecommunications for the office came in at more than $12,000.

Mr Howard, Australia's second longest-serving PM behind Sir Robert Menzies, also spent just over $300 on office renovations.

In terms of travel he spent almost $8500 on domestic fares, more than $13,000 on car costs and more than $2000 on family travel.

He had an additional $4300 in expenses incurred before January 1 but paid for in the reporting period.

Another Liberal prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, was second the list with $110,225 in entitlements, followed by former Labor leaders Paul Keating ($72,345), Bob Hawke ($65,422) and Gough Whitlam ($61,153).

The total bill for the five former leaders in the 2011/12 financial year came to $959,399.

APN Newsdesk reported in May the five former PMs had cost Australian taxpayers almost $985,000 in 2010/11.

Life Gold Pass holders racked up almost $534,000 in domestic air fares for the first six months of the year, including $158,405 on family travel costs.

It was Mr Howard who as prime minister in 2001 introduced the public disclosure of expenses incurred by former PMs, governors-general and life Gold Pass holders.