Tony Abbott says it is appropriate to claim thousands of dollars in travel allowances for an event like the Port Macquarie ironman and for his annual charity Pollie Pedal because they are acts of deep community engagement which take him away from home.
At the Apec talks in Bali – his first major global outing since the September election – the prime minister has been peppered with questions from reporters about his use of taxpayer-funded allowances.
Abbott has paid back more than $1,700 in entitlements relating to his attendance at two weddings in 2006.
He claimed taxpayer-funded allowances for the wedding of former Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella and the nuptials of former Speaker Peter Slipper, but reimbursed the taxpayer after public controversy about travel entitlements surfaced last week.
Abbott confirmed in Bali on Tuesday that he had also claimed $1,300 in allowances for a trip to Port Macquarie in November 2011, which included him competing in an ironman event in the coastal city.
The prime minister acknowledged he claimed expenses totalling several thousand dollars for his annual Pollie Pedal – a cycling event which raises funds for charity. He said this practice was entirely appropriate because a number of political events were on the schedule.
- Tony Abbott defends Ironman travel claims (smh.com.au)
- Tony Abbott defends claiming travel allowance for sporting events (theguardian.com)
- Ironman Tony’s ironclad reasons (theage.com.au)
- Abbott defends claiming travel expenses (sbs.com.au)
- Albanese says Slipper got a rough deal (news.com.au)
- Abbott’s age of entitlements (pigsarms.com.au)