$750 Designer Dress of Joe Hockey’s Wife Gets Aussies Notice as Treasurer Asks Nation to Tighten Belt

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By Vittorio Hernandez | May 14, 2014 2:28 PM EST

Ordinarily, politicians' wives are seen as fashion icons that the public wouldn't mind seeing them in expensive dresses or gowns during state functions. Think Jacqueline Kennedy or Michelle Obama who are considered fashion icons and trendsetters of their time.

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Model Karlie Kloss presents a creation by French designer Barbara Bui as part of her Fall/Winter 2014-2015 women's ready-to-wear collection during Paris Fashion Week February 27, 2014.

However, that rule would not apply when the event is a budget announcement and the government is asking citizens to tighten its belt, only to find out the wife of the treasurer spent $750 on a designer's dress.

News.com.au reported on Wednesday, just after Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey bared contents of the 2014-15 federal budget which to many Australians is a bitter bill to swallow, that the treasurer's wife, Melissa Babbage, wore a $750 Carla Zampati dress when she showed up in Parliament for the budget announcement (http://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/treasurer-joe-hockeys-wife-splashes-out-while-australia-struggles-after-budget/story-fn84fgcm-1226917327119).

The newspaper quoted the description from the designer's Web site that the dress was "elegantly cut to gently skim the figure."

Although the money to buy the white dress probably came from Melissa's pay since she is a banker, the price tag was equated by News.com.au to the new GP visit fee of $7 107 times or the $5 charge on the filling up of 150 prescriptions.

Minutes after the News.com.au article came out, reactions of Australians either to the article or the expensive dress came out.

Michael Byrnes believes the daily should have focused its criticism on changes to education and health funding instead of Melissa's dress. Jo Macarthur agreed, commenting, "I fins this is disgusting of $newscomauHQ to go after Joe Hockey's wife for what she wore last night."

However, Dave Donovan sees it otherwise when he tweeted, "WHAT WE KNOW: Joe Hockey, fmr lawyer/banker, Cuban cigar smoker, rich banker wife, enjoys dancing over impoverishment of needy Australians."

David Claridad found the article humorous because it "almost sounded like Joe Hockey cheated on his wife!!"

April Pressler linked the treasurer's wife's financial capability to buy an expensive dress during hard times to her being given a $45,000-a-year board appointment by the Newman government.

Pressler was probably referring to a Courier Mail article in August 2013 which reported that Hockey breached parliamentary rules when he declared only in May 2013 that his wife was made director of Steel Harbour under spouse declaration rules, but business records indicate she has been appointed director since 1998, while pecuniary interest register declarations must be made within a month.

Hockey then claimed he was not aware of his wife's business interests for the past 14 years and blamed the publicity given to the appointment to a smear campaign by the Labor party.

Read also:

Budget 2014: Treasurer Joe Hockey Acknowledges Unpopularity of 1st Coalition Budget, Which Includes 16,000 Job Cuts & Deficit Tax

Australian Tax Office Cuts 3,000 Jobs

Australian Company Directors Join Growing Number of People Losing Faith in Abbott Government

Deficit Tax on Aussies to be Temporary Only; Critics Doubt, Citing Abbott's Zero Credibility

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(Photo: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes / )
Model Karlie Kloss presents a creation by French designer Barbara Bui as part of her Fall/Winter 2014-2015 women's ready-to-wear collection during Paris Fashion Week February 27, 2014.
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