MP pays internet bill back
ASSISTANT Treasurer Stuart Robert will pay back almost $38,000 that he had charged taxpayers to cover his unusually high internet bills.
The controversial MP — previously dumped from the front bench in 2016 for breaching ministerial rules during a 2014 trip to China — confirmed he had repaid the money via Twitter yesterday.
He had previously blamed “connectivity issues” at his home for the high cost.
“Regarding internet expenditure — I’ve immediately repayed [sic] a full amount of $37,975 that reflects excess usage charges under the Finance Department’s approved plan,” he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison — a close political ally — had ordered an investigation last week into why Mr Robert had slugged taxpayers up to $2800 a month for internet at his home on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Special Minister of State Alex Hawke said yesterday he had been advised the finance department signed off on Robert’s internet connection. “Due to the location of his residence, Mr Robert was only able to access mobile broadband services with limited monthly download capabilities,” Mr Hawke said in a statement.
He said that, despite the plan being approved, the high excess data charges had “understandably caused concern”. Records showed Mr Robert charged taxpayers more than $11,000 for home data over a six-month period, an average of $1846 a month for internet usage.