Turnbull axes MPs’ Life Gold Pass for travel, one of the greatest perks of parliament

Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Stefan Postles/ Getty Images.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has axed the Life Gold Pass which entitles members of parliament to post-retirement travel benefits.

The Australian reports that the prime minister will immediately put an end to the pass instead of allowing a phase-out period.

Now it will only be available to former prime ministers, although Turnbull has said he would not use it.

It is expected to produce a savings of $5 million over the forward estimates.

The move is part of wider entitlement reforms, following the Sussan Ley travel entitlement scandal last month which saw her resign as the minister of health and minister of sport.

It was revealed that she bought an $800,000 apartment on the Gold Coast while on a taxpayer funded trip, and spent $13,000 to pilot private planes instead of taking cheaper commercial flights.

As a result Turnbull will introduce an independent agency that will report MPs’ spending monthly. It is expected to be fully implemented by the July 1, 2017.

Since 2012 the Life Gold Pass capped the number of flights per MP per year to 10. The entitlement included certain benefits for the spouse or de facto partner of a former eligible member or prime minister.

The entitlement of parliamentarians to the Life Gold Pass has been in operation since 1918. Since 2001 the Gold Pass has cost taxpayers $17.2 million.

Former prime ministers Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott had both made attempts to end the parliamentary perk.

A High Court challenge was made last year to save the scheme but it was thrown out.

The Australian has more here.