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Bishop's $5000 helicopter ride signals time for a major overhaul of MPs' entitlements

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 15 Jul 2015

Commenting on reports that Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop spent $5,000 on 80km charter helicopter flight from Melbourne to Geelong, Greens democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"If Ms Bishop argues that her $5000 helicopter ride is within the rules clearly it is time that the rules for MPs' entitlements were given a major overhaul.

"There is no justification for MPs using public money to attend party fund raising events.

"This $5000 spend by Ms Bishop does not pass the barbeque test. No one apart from the poor hapless staffer who the Speaker sends out to try and justify the indefensible could argue that this is ok.

"Even by the standards of the Abbott government Ms Bishop surely is an embarrassment.

"This latest incident of an MP abusing their tax payer allowances highlights the need for an upgrade to the public disclosure requirements. The current rule makes it extremely difficult to track how MPs use their allowances.

"It is time the Abbott government entered the digital age and published MPs' interests and entitlements in a timely manner online in a readily searchable format.

"The Scottish Parliament publishes an easily searchable online database of MPs' interests and expenses.

"Australia should catch up with the Scottish. It is extraordinary how antiquated the Australian parliament is on this important public issue.

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