This veteran politician spent $5000 on an 80-kilometre flight

Politicians and their travel expenses often come under scrutiny but this takes the cake. Labor is demanding an explanation for why this politician spent $5000 on a charter flight between Melbourne and Geelong, a 80-kilometre journey that would have taken an hour by car – and cost a whole lot less.

Most shocking is not the how much, but the who – the perpetrator is Federal Parliamentary Speaker Bronwyn Bishop.

Madam Speaker opted to take the charter plane last November, even though the transfer time between airports would have ended up taking the same amount of time as if she’d simply driven in her Commonwealth car.

The $5,227.27 cost of the trip is detailed in a six-monthly report to the Finance Department, and was reported by the ABC. The report revealed the veteran Liberal has had quite a lot of expensive travel lately, spending $130,889.80 on official travel in the second half of last year.

A big chunk of that expense was $88,000 on a 15-day official visit to Europe while she was running for the presidency of the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union. The trip took place in October and covered Italy, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland.

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In September Mrs Bishop travelled to Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos and South Korea at a cost of $42,805.51.

Labor MP Pat Conroy has called for to Mrs Bishop to provide “clarification of her use of parliamentary entitlements”.

In reference to the short flight that cost $5000, he said, “This seems a curious decision which is not only prohibitively expensive, but also inefficient,” he said.

“The Speaker likely clocked up more travel time by combining the 45-minute flight with road transfers to and from airports, than she would have driving for around an hour from Melbourne to the event in Geelong instead.”

Are you surprised that Bronwyn Bishop would abuse her position like this?