Embattled Speaker Bronwyn Bishop has apologised for her “error of judgement”, following weeks of scrutiny over her use of parliamentary expenses, but says she “won’t be resigning”.
Bishop, who will face a no-confidence motion tabled by crossbenchers next month, spoke to Alan Jones on 2GB and said that she “understood people’s anger”.
“I want to apologise to the Australian people for my error of judgement,” Bishop said. “I feel like I’ve let them down.”
She added that she “won’t be resigning”.
“I’ve been listening to what the Australian people are saying… and despite what other people have done… I have done the wrong thing… at the end of the day it is my responsibility.”
Bishop acknowledged that she has “a lot of hard work ahead” and that she wished she had apologised before now.
“I won’t be resigning,” she reiterated, “but I will be working very hard to make sure I mean my apology to the Australian people.
“I should have said it then (last week). I wish I had,” she said.
Along with her apology Bishop accepted that she would be facing “a robust chamber” when parliament reconvenes.
Yesterday Independent MP Andrew Wilkie said he and the Palmer United Party leader would move the motion if Bronwyn Bishop did not step down amid the expenses scandal.
“Bronwyn Bishop is not a fit person to occupy the highest position in the House of Representatives,” he said.
“[She] has abused parliamentary entitlements and treats public expectations with contempt. No wonder many members of the community question her integrity.”
Bishop said she will repay all expenses related to the weddings.
In 2007 Bishop charged taxpayers $288 in travel allowance to attend the wedding of Liberal MP Teresa Gambaro in Brisbane. She also spent $600 on return flights from Sydney to Albury, where she attended the wedding of former MP Sophie Mirabella in 2006. Read more about that here.
Her use of parliamentary entitlements has been under intense scrutiny, initially sparked by a revelation that she charged taxpayers $5227 for helicopter charter between Melbourne and Geelong, which is a one-hour drive.
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