POLITICS

Choppergate's Bronwyn Bishop Defends Sussan Ley Against 'Pack Of Dogs'

A comrade, whether she wants one or not.

09/01/2017 3:43 PM AEDT | Updated 09/01/2017 4:55 PM AEDT

CANBERRA -- Bronwyn Bishop does know a thing or two about travel entitlement controversies.

The former Federal Parliamentary Speaker and Sky News commentator has raised the spectre of "socialists destroying free enterprise" and accused people of behaving like a "pack of dogs" as she defended Sussan Ley, who was forced to stand aside as Federal Health Minister on Monday pending two official investigations into tax-payer funded travel expenses.

The action of standing down, which Labor has described as "weak," comes after days of pressure over a number of taxpayer-funded flights to the Gold Coast, where she and her partner own property.

Bishop, whose political career ended after she was sprung spending $5227.27 on a helicopter to take an 80-kilometre flight from Melbourne to a golf course near Geelong for a Liberal Party function, is furious about how Ley is being publicly treated.

"I am not going to be someone who judges her," she told Sky News host Laura Jayes, adding concern about Ley's reputation. "She should not be attacked like people behaving like a pack of dogs."

She said Ley had down an "excellent" job as Health Minister and pointed the finger at "socialists".

"I do know that there are socialists out there who want to attack free enterprise and anyone who sticks up for it," Bishop said.

"I know that socialists, like alcoholics, will blame anyone but themselves.

"Whereas alcoholics can damage their own family, socialists can destroy the whole country."

The veteran politician said it was "reasonable" that the two investigations into Ley's use of travel entitlements, one by the Finance Department and one by the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, be allowed to run their course.

Bishop appeared to be still smarting from 'Choppergate' and told Sky News it was "disappointing" that more of Ley's colleagues had not come out to support her.

She was also scathing of the Labor Party, saying it was "disgusting" that the federal opposition had sent a woman, Penny Wong, out to the media Monday to attack Ley, another woman. This is despite Wong appearing officially in Bill Shorten's place as acting Labor Leader.

Putting aside whether or not Ley appreciated the advice, Bishop also had a view on the "pub test" and bear in mind the pub test is separate to a possible breach of ministerial standards.

With a smile, Bishop said her view is that the pub test depends on which pub you are in. Got that? Clear as mud.

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