Bleijie under fire for heli tab
A QUEENSLAND Liberal National Party politician outspent Federal Speaker Bronwyn Bishop on chartered helicopter flights in what’s been blasted as a disgusting waste of taxpayers’ money.
The Labor Government has taken aim at former attorneygeneral Jarrod Bleijie, who spent $ 14,980 to charter two helicopters for a visit to a North Queensland boot camp in June last year.
Former MPs Gavin King and Sam Cox joined Mr Bleijie on the 300km return flight from Townsville to Lincoln Springs, Attorney- General Yvette D’Ath’s office said, citing departmental records.
The trio shot a promotional video, which still appears online, about the Liberal National Party’s tough- on- crime approach.
Ms D’Ath said the flights to the Lincoln Springs boot camp, west of Townsville, came at a time when the LNP was attempting to curb waste.
“I went out there in a car on less than a tank of petrol,” she said yesterday.
“This is disgusting. It is outrageous.”
Ms D’Ath questioned why Mr Bleijie had asked the Youth Justice Division to foot the bill, rather than recording it under his own ministerial expenses.
But the trip had saved Mr Bleijie an eight- hour car trip, deputy LNP leader JohnPaul Langbroek said.
“He also had significant security because of the VLAD ( Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment) laws that were around at the time.”
When asked whether taxpayers would expect Mr Bleijie to pay the money back, Mr Langbroek replied: “There are too many hypotheticals in that question”.
He said all MPs were required to ensure their travel expenses were in line with entitlement requirements and was confident Mr Bleijie did just that. Mr Bleijie’s security detail involved just one Queensland police officer, a spokesman for Ms D’Ath said.
But the Government stopped short of demanding Mr Bleijie pay back the money, as Mrs Bishop has done.
“With all of the outrage towards the Speaker of the Federal Parliament, I find it just as outrageous that the former attorney- general directed the department to pay for this,” Ms D’Ath said.
The Federal Speaker is under fire for spending $ 5227.27 on a chartered helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong for a Liberal Party event at a golf club.
She has agreed to repay the money but not to apologise nor step down as Speaker.