Federal Australian politics is on the edge of its seat as news came out that Health Minister Sussan Ley purchased a property worth over $700,000 while on a taxpayer-funded trip to the Gold Coast. Her husband was also with her on this trip also covered by taxpayer funds.
At first a spokesperson for Ms Ley confirmed the purchase and said that the Health Minister was on the Gold Coast for official government reasons as that the purchase “was not planned nor anticipated”. Something that Labor MP Catherine King calling “unbelievable”.
Talking to the ABC, Ms King said, “I think she’s got some explaining to do, to explain how purchasing a luxury apartment with her husband is in any way, shape or form official business”. She added, “Frankly, if she can’t, she needs to resign.”
It was the idea that the purchase wasn’t planned that has caught Ms King’s ire. She said, “In anyone’s world, $700,000 plus is a lot of money”. She added, “I don’t know too many people who would spent that sort of money, even if they had it, on an impulse. It’s a pretty unbelievable claim.”
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce came for Ms Ley’s defense saying “If they [Ms Ley and her husband] made a purchase — even though I admit it’s a substantial purchase — that is not the reason she went to the Gold Coast”. He added, “She went to the Gold Coast for work … people are saying she concocted a reason to do a policy announcement on the Gold Coast. I think that is a bit rich.”
Ms Ley has one of the highest expenditures of any politician as she has claimed over $1.1 million in taxpayer-funded travel in a one year period.