The Sussan Ley expense controversy is continuing to snowball with new reports she slugged taxpayers $13,000 for piloting charter planes herself when inexpensive commercial flights were available -- and now more of her colleagues are in the spotlight over their own questionable claims.
The ABC reported that foreign minister and deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop claimed more than $2700 in flights and expenses to attend an exclusive polo event in Melbourne in January 2016. Bishop was snapped inside an exclusive marquee, surrounded by VIPs and celebrities, after being invited to the Mornington Peninsula event as a guest of Peroni and Jeep.
"The Minister was invited and attended in her official capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party," Bishop's office said in a statement.
The claims for flights, car transport and travel allowance were recorded in Bishop's official expenditure report as "official business".
The ABC also reported three more expense claims from Liberals which will come under the spotlight, after they billed the taxpayer to attend the AFL grand final in 2013. Finance minister Mathias Cormann, tourism minister Steve Ciobo and Tasmanian senator David Bushby all submitted claims for the match, to which they were invited as guests of the National Australia Bank.
Cormann, from Western Australia, billed more than $3500 for airfares for him and his wife to attend the game in Melbourne. Ciobo, from the Gold Coast, billed $1100, while Bushby submitted a claim for $863 for airfares.
Cormann's office told the ABC that the senator had "official commitments before, during and after the AFL Grand Final weekend".
"As well as portfolio related meetings on Friday, the Minister had Melbourne-based media commitments both on Saturday and Sunday morning as well as a series of other portfolio related commitments in Melbourne," the statement said.
Both ABC stories will place further pressure on our politicians to be more frugal in their expense claims. Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers are amping up their attacks and calling for change, especially tightening the broad category of "official business" to explain a claim.