It's time for a public apology, Madam Speaker

The Prime Minister has today told reporters Bronwyn Bishop is “on probation” for her expenses claims and that she has “copped a justifiable hiding”.

He described the Speaker as being  “contrite” and “apologetic” over “this serious lapse of judgment” during several long conversations the pair has had about the topic.

“Bronwyn is, I think, very, very contrite about this. I’ve had a couple of long conversations with her about it,” said Mr Abbott.

However, when it comes to the public, Mrs Bishop seems to be pulling a John Howard and refusing to utter the “S” word.

When asked if she would apologise over the weekend, she simply said, “The biggest apology one can make is to repay the amount.”

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“When I saw the figure, it looked large and I thought I should pay it, and am paying it.”

But is that enough? It’s one thing to say sorry to your boss for causing embarrassment and wasting public money, but what about the people who actually pay her salary?

Mrs Bishop has paid back the $5000+ for the flight, along with a $1300 fine. If she’s so “contrite” over the issue, she should issue a formal apology to the Australian public – a move that will cost her nothing.

It’s not like she’s going to lose her job – the Prime Minister remains her staunch supporter, saying today, “She has been a strong Speaker…she has been a strong servant of our country, she has been a good servant of the Coalition and so she does have my confidence but like everyone who has done something like this, inevitably, for a period of time, they are on probation.”

It’s clear the government wants to be shot of the issue, so how about it Madam Speaker? Say sorry so we can all move on!

Would you like a formal apology from the speaker over the chopper scandal? Do you think it would help matters?