Outgoing maverick MP’s side hustle ‘looks dodgy’
Colourful outgoing Queensland federal MP George Christensen is using his Parliament-linked Facebook page to spruik books and earn a commission.
The Member for Dawson, who has railed against "broken politics" and big tech companies, has signed on as a "Amazon associate" - a scheme in which people can make money on commission by promoting certain products on the online store.
Every few days since April 22, the day he announced he would not contest the next election, Mr Christensen has been promoting conservative books via Amazon to his 75,000 followers on Facebook.
Titles include Live Not By Lives: A Manual For Christian Dissidents, Cross and Culture: Can Jesus Save the West, Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution, Fundamental Rights in the Age of COVID-19 and former Australia Christian Lobby boss Lyle Shelton's book.
There have been at least eight books promoted in the past two weeks.
Mr Christensen has included on his Facebook page description that "as an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases".
According to Amazon's website, people can qualify for the Amazon Associates program if they are an "influencer with an established social media following" and that they can earn up to 10 per cent commission from purchases via traffic they drive to the website.
Physical books earn up to 4.5 per cent commission.
Opposition spokeswoman on government waste Senator Kristina Keneally said Mr Christensen needed to guarantee that no taxpayer money had been used to promote the book sales.
"This looks dodgy," she said.
"Not only is he promoting radical views on social media - he appears to be desperately trying to use his platform as an MP to make a quick buck on the side.
"Queenslanders are sick and tired of the Morrison Government's waste, rorts and mismanagement."
MPs are required to declare substantial forms of income other than their salary.
There is no minimum amount specified in the rules, with MPs asked to use discretion, but income over $1000 a year is suggested as a rule of thumb.
Mr Christensen has yet to declare any income on his register of interest.
He did not respond to questions, including on whether any taxpayer funds had been used or if he would declare any income on his register of interests.
The Courier-Mail did not find any evidence to suggest taxpayer funds had been used.
Mr Christensen was first elected to Dawson in 2010 and announced on April 22 he would not contest the next poll, despite having already nominated for preselection and been approved by the LNP's vetting committee.
In 2019, it was revealed Mr Christensen took 28 flights to the Philippines from 2014-18.
An audit found he had charged taxpayers for 14 domestic flights linked to his personal overseas travel, but that only one breached rules.
Originally published as Outgoing maverick MP's side hustle 'looks dodgy'