Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

MP Charters $21K Give a Speech on Flight to Cost Cutting Flight to Budgets

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

MP Charters $21K Give a Speech on Flight to Cost Cutting Flight to Budgets

Article excerpt

Lea Emery

Senior Reporter

TAXPAYERS footed a bill of more than $21,000 for Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss to give a speech explaining the virtues of tightening the government belt and reducing expenditure after the controversial 2014 Budget.

The Chronicle can reveal the Deputy Prime Minister's expenses, released by the Department of Finance late last month, show the MP spent $21,570 on a chartered flight between Canberra and Brisbane to give a speech at the Conservative Breakfast Club in Brisbane on May 14 last year.

The revelation of the expensive charter flight comes just weeks after Speaker of the House and Liberal member Bronwyn Bishop found herself in hot water for spending taxpayer's money on a $5000 helicopter flight between Geelong and Melbourne to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser.

At the time, Mr Truss' speech angered retirees who took exception to his implication they were wasting their superannuation and lifesavings on cruises and overseas trips.

"The Budget takes steps to ensure the government is living within its means, and to rein in the age of entitlement," Mr Truss said, according to an online transcript of the speech.

It was previously unknown that Mr Truss had splashed out on a chartered flight between Canberra and Brisbane, despite there being regular flights between the two cities.

The Chronicle searched for Qantas flights for next Tuesday and Wednesday and found six flights departing Canberra on Tuesday and five departing Brisbane on Wednesday.

A business class ticket between Canberra and Brisbane cost $809 each way.

A spokeswoman for Mr Truss said the flight was chartered as there were "no suitable commercial flights were available to meet Mr Truss's ministerial duties on 13 and 14 May 2014".

The Conservative Breakfast Club regularly schedules speakers from the conservative side of politics to address likeminded people with profits donated to organisations such as the Royal Children's Hospital and Lifeline. …

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