Bronwyn Bishop has resigned from her role as Speaker of House of Representatives.
In a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Bishop had tendered her resignation to Governor General Peter Cosgrove, after weeks of scrutiny over her use of travel entitlements.
“I want to apologise to the Australian people for my error of judgment and to say sorry,” Bishop said.
Pressure had been mounting on Bishop earlier this month after an audit by the Department of Finance revealed she had spent $5000 on a helicopter chartered flight between Melbourne and Geelong to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser.
“You know, that helicopter, yes, I was short of time. But it is no excuse, and it was an error of judgment. And really, as I said, I want to apologise to the Australian people, because I feel I’ve let them down.”
Fresh reports further alleged that the Speaker had chartered a second $6000 private flight for another Liberal Party function on the NSW south coast as well as having spent $1000 on private limos.
This, on top of reports that Bishop had spent close to $400,000 in the last six months of 2014 of which $80,000 had been used to fund a two-week trip with two staff to Europe.
“I have not taken this decision lightly, however it is because of my love and respect for the institution of Parliament and the Australian people that I have resigned as Speaker,” she wrote in her statement.
Abbott has announced a new committee to oversee a review of the entitlements system saying that “current rules lack clarity and lack transparency”.
“What has become apparent, particularly over the last few days, is that the problem is not any particular individual; the problem is the entitlement system more generally,” he told reporters this afternoon.
Abbott has called for a system that “independently sets and monitors parliamentary entitlements” and one which “enables parliamentarians, their staff, and the public, to operate inside the rules with confidence”, according to a statement released today.
The committee will report to the Government in the first half of next year.
Here’s a look at some of the responses following Bishop’s resignation.
South Sydney clearly revived by the news of #BronwynBishop resignation – Two tries last four minutes
— Kristina Keneally (@KKeneally) August 2, 2015
— James Massola (@jamesmassola) August 2, 2015
Humiliating end for #BronwynBishop Unbelievable the PM defended her for so long and then didn't take the initiative and tell her to go.
— Troy Bramston (@TroyBramston) August 2, 2015
In any other job, #BronwynBishop's resignation would (and should) have come 2 weeks earlier. Greedy, selfish and horrendously out-of-touch.
— Matt Smithson (@mattsmithson) August 2, 2015
— Aussie Bush Sally (@aussiefarmstay) August 2, 2015
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.