Expenses changes welcome, says Irons
SWAN MHR Steve Irons has welcomed potential changes to the parliamentary entitlements system after being caught in an expenses scandal last year.
Changes to the system were once again brought up after Health, Aged Care and Sport Minister Sussan Ley resigned after it was revealed she and her husband had bought a $795,000 Gold Coast property during a May 2015 trip to Queensland.
On the trip she made an announcement about the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
She also made 17 trips to the Gold Coast between 2013 and 2016, costing taxpayers more than $40,000.
One of the changes that is being proposed is the introduction of an independent agency, from which MPs and senators would be able to get advice and rulings.
In an interview with the Southern Gazette, Mr Irons said he welcomed change. Steve Irons: Good for the sake of transparency.
“When you put in the travel claims with the Department of Finance, they don’t publish the reasons for the trips,” he said. “For the sake of transparency, I think it would be good if a new system was put in place. I was not comfortable with all of the reporting (of the expenses); my wife (Cheryle) was livid with it. Some but not all the facts are disclosed in the current system.”
It was revealed last year that Mr Irons charged taxpayers $1132.88 for a flight to Melbourne on October 28, 2011 for Victoria Derby Day just days after getting married at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
He charged taxpayers $1346.14 for the flight to Melbourne for the wedding on October 18 before again charging taxpayers $911.80 for flights back to Perth on October 25.
It has been reported that Mr Irons paid back the money for the wedding trip after a selfaudit in 2013.
Mr Irons also charged taxpayers $1875.14 for flights to Brisbane and $258 for a threenight stay at the Gold Coast to explore golf tourism opportunities in December 2015.
Mr Irons has maintained that the “travel in question was all within the guidelines set out for MPs”.
He said his focus in 2017 was delivering on promises and continuing projects such as the Forrestfield-Airport Link, Lathlain Park and the Manning Road onramp south on to Kwinana Freeway.