Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has defended Bronwyn Bishop’s spending habits.
Amid fresh reports alleging that the Speaker chartered a second $6000 private flight for a Liberal party fundraiser on the NSW south coast as well as having spent $1000 on private limos, Joyce has maintained he will continue to support Bishop.
“Bronwyn should remain the Speaker, if Bronny doesn’t want to be the Speaker then Bronny will make that decision but I’ll be supporting her because I think that’s what our role is,” he told Sky News.
“Our role is to make sure that when people are going through a rough patch, and we all do, you get behind them and support them.”
Bishop has certainly been in a “rough patch” in the last few weeks.
Earlier this month, details of a $5000 helicopter chartered flight between Melbourne and Geelong — an 80km trip — emerged during a Department of Finance audit of politicians’ expenses.
“Bronwyn’s a lady who probably, especially when things are busy, it’s not unreasonable that she will have someone help her drive to whatever job she’s got,” Joyce said.
Though Bishop eventually refunded the total amount of the taxpayer-funded flight to “remove any doubt”, the move has prompted many to call for her resignation amid the “helicopter expenses scandal” while adding pressure to Tony Abbott’s leadership.
“I can assure you a lot of politicians don’t like the life of a politician, you do it because it’s a service to your community and there are expectations of a whole range of things people expect you to do, raise money, go to events,” he said.
“If you don’t raise money for them, they don’t get elected.”
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