POLITICS

Health Minister Sussan Ley Resigns Over Expenses Scandal

Malcolm Turnbull announced the decision on Friday.

13/01/2017 2:57 PM AEDT | Updated 13/01/2017 5:05 PM AEDT

Vision Courtesy: ABC News24

Health minister Sussan Ley has resigned after a drawn-out travel entitlements saga.

Ley, on Monday stood aside after it was revealed she purchased an apartment on the Gold Coast in May, 2015, while on a taxpayer-funded work trip. An investigation was launched, which revealed she also spent more than $13,000 on two charter flights between capital cities. Earlier, The Huffington Post Australia revealed that DFAT overcharged $14,400 for Ley's trip to the U.S. last year, admitting an "accounting error" caused the total claim to blow out to $76,000.

In her resignation letter, Ley said she was confident she had followed the ministerial code of conduct but said she recognised that "community annoyance, even anger, with politicians' entitlements demands a response".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull thanked Ley for her service and said Australians deserved more information about how taxpayers' money was spent, announcing a new authority to police expenses, with monthly reviews.

"Australians are entitled to expect that politicians spend taxpayers' money carefully," Turnbull said.

"An independent parliamentary expenses authority will be a compliance, reporting and transparency body.

"It will monitor and adjudicate all claims by MPs, senators and ministers, ensuring that taxpayers' funds are spent appropriately and in compliance with the rules."

Turnbull said the public would be able to see and search monthly expenditures, with more details to be drawn up by the Special Minister of State.

Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon thanked Ley for her time as health minister.

"The AMA did not always agree with the policies announced by the Minister, especially the Medicare rebate freeze, but she was always prepared to hear our views and continue the broader discussions around health reform," Gannon said in a statement.

Ley's replacement was expected to be announced next week.


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