Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has overturned his predecessor Tony Abbott’s ban on Australian government ministers flying first class on overseas trips, but it comes with a catch — MPs have to cover the costs personally, rather than billing taxpayers
And Abbott’s cap limiting the number of staffers accompanying ministers at two has also been lifted.
Travel expenses became a major problem for Tony Abbott in 2015 after former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop’s $5000 helicopter ride from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a Liberal Party function.
It led to the crackdown on MP travel entitlements by Abbott, while his continued support for Bishop in the face of a mounting electoral backlash contributed to the leadership spill that cost him his job.
Under the new rules, all ministers will still need to declare all their travel costs and whether they had received any upgrades, which must not come at a cost of the taxpayer.
Turnbull’s chief-of-staff, Drew Clark, will have the final say on ministerial travel should it clash with cabinet or parliamentary sittings.
The Australian has more.
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