Julie Bishop ‘looked fabulous’ when she charged taxpayers $2,700 to attend a star-studded polo event, but politicians should pull their heads in, Catriona Rowntree says.
The host of Nine Network’s Getaway travel program admitted she attended the 2016 polo event last January at Portsea, on the Melbourne Mornington Peninsula.
Despite saying the Foreign Minister scrubbed up nice for the event, Rowntree told TODAY on Wednesday morning, ‘Politicians need to use their heads’.
Ms Bishop had attended the polo event as a guest of Jeep and Peroni, at a $2,716 cost to the public purse.
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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (pictured at the event with partner David Panton) charged taxpayers $2,700 to go to the Portsea Polo, claiming she was on ‘official ministerial business’
Today host Sylvia Jeffreys had asked Rowntree and Kent ‘Smallzy’ Small of Nova FM whether a polo match qualified as ministerial business.
‘Well, I think they’ve made it clear this is no ordinary polo match,’ Rowntree responded.
‘This is a very, very social event and it’s quite high profile.
‘I have to say, I was at that polo match with Julie last year. She looked fabulous in her Australian pearls,’ Rowntree said.
The Getaway host reiterated Ms Bishop was abiding by standards, but said the public doesn’t appreciate what’s going on.
Whispering something? Ms Bishop, deputy leader of the Liberal Party, was invited to last year’s star-studded event by its sponsors, Jeep and beer firm Peroni
Ms Bishop is pictured at the 2016 event at Portsea on the Melbourne Mornington Peninsula
Ms Bishop was a guest of Jeep and Petroni, and charged taxpayers more than $2,700 to attend
‘Politicians need to use their heads,’ Rowntree said.
‘Pull your head in … Do what the people have voted you in there to do.’
Ms Bishop was seen relaxing in a Mercedes Benz VIP marquee with her partner, David Panton, and did not appear to be working as she chilled in a sunhat and sandals.
Social media photos also show she attended the event the year prior.
The government has been facing growing pressure to change politicians’ travel entitlements as Ms Bishop’s expenses were scrutinised.
Catriona Rowntree said politicians need to pull their heads in, amid expenses scandal
Many other attendants took selfies with the Foreign Minister at the event last January
Ms Bishop is pictured with a fellow guest at the Portsea Polo on the Mornington Peninsula
But Ms Bishop billed taxpayers $2,715.86 for the trip, including flights from Sydney to Melbourne and then back to Perth.
Ms Bishop claimed she was on ‘official ministerial business’ when she attended the event
Her expenses reveal she claimed $441.43 on the flight from Sydney to Melbourne before splashing $1,735.23 to get back to Perth, where she is an MP.
Ms Bishop also charged $416.20 for a car and claimed a $123 travel allowance.
Her office told the ABC Ms Bishop was there on official ministerial business in her capacity as foreign minister and deputy leader of the Liberal Party.
It’s also been revealed three others, including two government ministers, claimed thousands for a trip to the AFL grand final in 2013.
Ms Bishop billed taxpayers $2,715.86 for the trip, including flights from Sydney to Melbourne and then back to Perth
Her office told the ABC Ms Bishop was there on official ministerial business in her capacity as foreign minister and deputy leader of the Liberal Party
Among them was Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, whose department oversees politicians’ entitlements.
He pocketed $3,533 from the public purse for flights for him and his wife.
A spokesman from his office claimed Cormann had ‘official commitments before, during and after the AFL Grand Final weekend’.
Trade Minister Steve Ciobo charged taxpayers $1,102 for a flight to the match, while Tasmanian Senator David Bushby claimed $863 for a return flight.
All three politicians were given free tickets and hospitality after being invited by the National Australia Bank.
Included in the $2,700 was $416.20 for a car and a $123 travel allowance
Ciobo and Bushby are yet to respond to requests for comment.
There are also reports cabinet minister Darren Chester settled on an investment property while on a taxpayer-funded trip to Melbourne, where he also attended the Australian Open tennis.
It follows the scandal around Sussan Ley, who was forced to stand aside as health minister pending investigations into trips she made to the Gold Coast.
On one of them, she bought an $800,000 apartment.
The federal government has vowed to make changes to the entitlements in the first half of 2017 based on recommendations from a review published early last year.
Ms Bishop is pictured with her partner David Panton in the Liberty Belle marquee at the polo event
Bishop (left) was seen relaxing in a Mercedes Benz VIP marquee with her partner David Panton and did not appear to be working as she chilled in a sunhat and sandals
Labor’s Chris Bowen has also been revealed to have spent $10,000 on a flights for a family holiday to Darwin in 2015, The Australian reported.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale has reiterated calls for a national anti-corruption body that will in part scrutinise politicians’ expense claims.
Crossbencher Nick Xenophon also wants an independent watchdog, as well as real-time disclosure of claims and harsher penalties for those who exploit rules.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson told the Seven Network on Wednesday the politicians should pay back the money as well as copping a ‘heavy fine’.
‘We have to be responsible for the money we spend on our travel or flights that are taken and not to visit these functions that are funded for donations to the political party or their campaigns. It is wrong.’
Tasmanian Senator David Bushby, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo claimed more than $2,500 in expenses as they went to the AFL Grand Final in 2013
Taxpayers paid for embattled minister Sussan Ley to fly to Canberra after attending a socialite’s wedding on the Gold Coast with multimillionaire and Liberal Party donor Sarina Russo (pictured together at the wedding)
Liberal Democratic senator David Leyonhjelm said the primary purpose of the expense has to be related to the job.
‘We need to be very conscious of the fact it is not our money we are spending,’ he told Seven.
‘The committee has recommended that the word ‘entitlements’ be dropped and the phrase ‘expense of jobs’ be used instead,’ he said.
Senator Hanson said she had not seen the government’s recommendations made by an independent review 11 months ago after Bronwyn Bishop’s expenses scandal.
The minister attended the wedding the same month she claims she impulsively bought a two-bedroom at Main Beach for $795,000 on May 9, 2015 while on a work trip
Fabulous pearls, shame about the taxpayer! Getaway host Catriona Rowntree compliments Julie Bishop’s polo attire – as it emerges Foreign Minister billed taxpayers $2,716 for the trip have 1104 words, post on www.dailymail.co.uk at 2017-01-11 14:54:56. This is cached page on WBNews. If you want remove this page, please contact us.