Australian speaker stands defiant on spending

July 19, 2015 10:25 pm

 

Bronwyn Bishop’s helicopter trip and two other chartered plane flights are being probed by the Department of Finance.

She won’t say sorry, won’t resign and says she won’t be tarred with the same brush as former disgraced Speaker Peter Slipper.
Australian
Speaker Bronwyn Bishop remains defiant as her taxpayer-funded travel
expenses come under scrutiny after it was revealed she spent A$5000
($5654) on a helicopter ride from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a
Liberal Party fundraiser.
Quizzed by reporters after an Anzac
Centenary event in Sydney yesterday, Bishop said she was under no
particular pressure to resign.
Having repaid the money, she said she felt no compulsion to say sorry.
She
was annoyed when asked to explain the difference between her case and
that of Slipper, who, while he was an independent MP, stood aside as
Speaker during the Gillard Government when A$900 of cab charges were
investigated.
“Totally a different matter altogether and you know it,” she said.

Bishop’s helicopter trip and two other chartered plane flights
are being probed by the Department of Finance. Fairfax media also
reported she spent A$1000 per day on limousines in an A$88,000 trip to
.
“Well, international travel is expensive,” she said.
Treasurer
Joe Hockey, the first minister to suggest the helicopter ride “failed
the sniff test”, said the Speaker now recognises she made an error of
judgement, repaid the money and is co-operating with the Department of
Finance. “This has sucked up too much oxygen for the nation over the
last few days. We need to get on with the issues that matter to people,”
he told the Ten Network.
Government frontbencher Greg Hunt
agreed with the Speaker that her refund was as good as an apology but
conceded he would, in that situation, apologise for any error he made.
Former
Liberal leader Dr John Hewson was less generous, saying he was
staggered that these sorts of issues are not nipped in the bud.
Hewson,
who was leader when Bishop was a senator two decades ago, said she set a
pretty tough standard in those days for accountability and
transparency, but is “ducking and weaving” now the same standards are
being applied to her.
“It’s amazing how history bites you in the bum,” he told Sky .
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has so far stood by his Speaker.

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