Sussan Ley makes cuts to her travel expenses after scandal

CHANGES: Sussan Ley in January, addressing the media in Albury over expenses and travel claims on the Gold Coast.
CHANGES: Sussan Ley in January, addressing the media in Albury over expenses and travel claims on the Gold Coast.

Farrer MP Sussan Ley cut out all charter flights and family travels costs charged to the taxpayer in the three months after she resigned as Health Minister.

The figures were revealed in the first report of the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, covering politicians’ travel and office spending between January and March this year.

Announced after Ms Ley’s January travel scandal, the new quarterly report was touted by the federal government as one of the biggest reforms to the expenses system in a generation.

It showed she spent $381 for a ministerial staffer’s diplomatic passport for a planned trip to France and the UK to attend the meeting of OECD health ministers, but the trip – that had been due to occur just days after she resigned from her position as minister – was cancelled.

Another $6222 was received in travel allowance for the MP to travel between Albury, Canberra and other parts of Farrer.

The parliamentary expenses also reveal the Finance Department, after reviewing its records, discovered it had made an error in not previously recording a $714 expense for a trip Ms Ley took to the Gold Coast on October 13-14, 2013, when she was in the outer ministry.

On one trip in 2015, she purchased a property for nearly $800,000, which she described as a "spur of the moment" decision, but even when resigning as a minister in January, she maintained she had followed the rules.

“I accept community annoyance, even anger, with politicians’ entitlements demands a response and I wholeheartedly support the reforms,” Ms Ley said at the time. 

I accept community annoyance, even anger, with politicians’ entitlements demands a response and I wholeheartedly support the reforms.

Farrer MP Sussan Ley

The $29,308.48 spent on office facilities included $841.50 for new flags and $737.14 for daily newspapers including The Border Mail and Sydney Morning Herald.

Indi MP Cathy McGowan received $4408 in a travel allowance between January and March, claiming $276 for every night spent in Canberra for Parliamentary sittings.

The $28,624.77 spent on on her offices included $1434 for flags, and $943.13 for subscriptions to all metro and Indi regional newspapers.

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