Developments in the travel entitlement scandal involving health minister Sussan Ley continue to unfold.
According to Fairfax Media, Ley, who is a licensed commercial pilot, paid $7000 to hire a private plane from Canberra to Adelaide in May 2015, when she could have taken a commercial flight for around $190 in economy.
And it’s not her only use of taxpayers’ funds to pilot private planes along busy capital city routes. Ley also charged taxpayers $6300 to fly from Canberra to Melbourne in July 2014.
She maintains that she hasn’t broken any rules.
According to Ley, the Canberra to Melbourne flight was related to childcare policy meetings in 2014 and the Canberra to Adelaide trip in 2015 was for talks with GPs.
But under ministerial guidelines, charters can only be used when there are no scheduled commercial flights or they will be an unduly delayed by the using scheduled services.
Ley, who stepped aside from her ministerial position on Monday, is co-operating with the investigation into her spending.
She has not commented on these recent findings, except for her office saying: “At this stage, it would be premature and inappropriate to be commenting before the release of the findings of these thorough reviews.”
A commercial pilot must fly three flights every 90 days to maintain their licences, under rules set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Her social media account has many photos of herself in the cockpit of a plane, aerial shots of the land, and posing with aircraft.
Even her cover photo is a picture of her sitting in the pilot seat.
It has an unfortunate similarity to the Bronwyn Bishop spending saga.
After she was questioned about her use of a helicopter, costing taxpayers $5000, Bishop’s Facebook cover photo, which appeared to have been taken from a helicopter, became the talk of Australia.
Here are some of the photos from Ley’s Facebook page.
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