Flying High with Bronwyn Bishop!
****A DRAMATIC GUTTER TRASH INVESTIGATIVE REPORT EXCLUSIVE…!!!*****
- Bishop digs in as office confirms she signed chopper ride expense claim
- Claims she “didn’t know what she was signing”
- Scandal has Liberal MPs seething!
With thanks to our exclusive sources, the Gutter Trash can reveal that embattled Speaker Dame Bronwyn Bishop didn’t bother to check her expenses before she signed off on the six-monthly Finance Department report which contained details of the scandalous $5227 helicopter charter flight.
Instead, she left her expenses to be checked by her minions before details of the lavish joyride were made public on the department’s website.
Bronwyn’s failure to check her own expenses occurred despite the form specifically requiring MPs to “check the information detailed” as part of the regular reporting process and stating that MPs must “certify that my use of each entitlement … administered by Finance, is in accordance with the provisions legislated for each respective entitlement.”
A spokesman for Mrs Bishop confirmed she had not checked the expense report and said “our staff reconcile the report against the Speaker’s own diary to ensure the accuracy of the certification. Once we have done that we provide assurances to the Speaker that the report is correct and she signs the certification”.
Mrs Bishop insists that the $5000 joyride is well within her entitlements, despite the taxpayer funded jaunt being incurred to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser.
However current and former MPs including Treasurer Joe Hockey, Environment Minister Greg Hunt, former treasurer Peter Costello, former leader John Hewson and former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett have all publicly condemned the flamboyant Speaker’s use of taxpayer funded expenses.
Despite the public outrage, Tony Abbott remains resolutely in support of his hand-picked Speaker.
However The Gutter Trash understands that Government ministers are seething over the scandal, particularly as the furore diverts attention away from Bill Shorten’s recent appearance at the Royal Commission into Union corruption.
A defiant Mrs Bishop made it clear that she does not intend to resign, or apologise, despite agreeing to repay cost of the charter flight, plus a $1300 penalty.
She also defended a recent two-week trip to Europe that cost taxpayers close to $90,000, declaring: “It wasn’t $90,000, it was 88 [thousand]. Indeed the President of the Senate who led the delegation to exactly the same meeting, the 12 months before, spent $92,000. So it is simply the way that delegations are arranged.”
“When we talked about the helicopter, that is now with the Department of Finance, so I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about it any further,” she said and insisted “the best form of apology is to repay the money”.
Federal Treasurer, Smokin’ Joe Hockey is said to be livid over the affair saying that the scandal was sucking the oxygen from political debate and that “I haven’t heard of anyone who has taken a helicopter to a fundraising event”.
“She recognised that what she did was an error of judgment, paid the money and is co-operating with the Department of Finance, and that’s all happened since I had that interview with 2UE,” he told the Ten Network, referring to earlier criticism that the flight didn’t pass the “sniff test” (what even is that?).
Former Liberal John Hewson believes Tony Abbott is “defending the indefensible” and issued a stark prediction that ChopperGate will come at an “enormous political cost” to the government.