No matter how you look at it, it can’t possibly be justified for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Brownwyn Bishop to bill $5,000 for a chartered helicopter flight from Melbourne to Geelong. When it becomes known that the flight was to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser it becomes a rort and an attempt to defraud Australian taxpayers.
Yesterday, Bishop said that she was entitled to claim the travel as she was going to the fundraiser to discuss the role of parliament and thus was an official engagement. Such an argument is ludicrous. A party fundraiser is not an official engagement. During her speech yesterday, Bishop believed that the furore surrounding the expense was due to how much it was and that she would pay it back, even though she had done nothing wrong. Yes, $5,000 to travel from Melbourne to Geelong is over the top, especially when a trip by car is only around an hour and would have cost a couple of hundred dollars. Still, a claim to attend your own party’s fundraiser that’s a rort, especially when you are already receiving a salary in excess of $340,000 per year.
Despite the possibility that Bishop’s rort may be criminal, she will no be investigated by police but rather subject to a Department of Finance internal probe. Contrast this to Peter Slipper who was alleged to have charged $900 illegally to his cabcharge account.
This latest rort comes amid Bishop’s own confession that she is being investigated by the finance department over a further two flights and follows her spending $90,000 on a two week trip to Europe last year to secure her position as president of the Inter-Parliamentary union (which she lost to a candidate from Bangladesh).
Bishop is a big spender at a time we are told the age lf entitlement has come to an end. That end must only be for ordinary Australians, not the Liberal Party’s ruling class.