Bishop ‘ can’t justify’ splurge
SPEAKER Bronwyn Bishop cost taxpayers $ 811,857 in expenses last year.
The hefty bill for the member for the Sydney electorate of Mackellar also does not include two extra charter flights to Young for another fundraiser – just days after her $ 5227 Geelong helicopter trip – and Nowra for two seniors forums. The Speaker has rapidly lost the confidence of the Government front bench over the enormous expenses she costs Australians.
It has also been revealed Mrs Bishop’s trip to Young was just five days after she racked up $ 5227 for an 80km luxury helicopter trip between Melbourne and Geelong for a party fundraiser in November, at which she discussed her role as Speaker.
It can be revealed Mrs Bishop’s $ 811,857 expenses bill included; • $ 309,581 in overseas trips • $ 47,086 in domestic trips • $ 32,471 in limousine travel • $ 350,909 in office costs The Department of Finance did not declare her two extra charter flights because they were close to the reporting deadline last year and will be included in the next set of expense claims to be released at the end of the year.
Former colleague and treasurer Peter Costello yesterday joined the chorus of condemnation for Mrs Bishop, declaring talking about parliament did not justify claiming a travel expense.
“The rule can’t be that you can just turn up somewhere and talk about parliament and then it’s justified,” Mr Costello said.
“I could wander up to someone at a birthday party and say, ‘ look, I’d like to tell you about the parliament’ and they’d probably walk away from me as they normally do at birthday parties.”
Mrs Bishop attended two seniors forums on November 22. Despite increasing scrutiny over her travel expenses, Mrs Bishop still retains the absolute support of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Mrs Bishop yesterday again defended her travel expenditure but conceded the trip to Geelong was an act of “grandiosity”.
“It was done within the entitlement,’’ she said.
“The fact is, when I saw that figure, I thought it was too large. The taxpayers’ money has been repaid and that’s why I did it and it is very much the best form of apology.”