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Bridget McKenzie bills public for $20k private jet to ice-hockey game

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Dubious Travel Claims | QED | The Nationals
National Party

Bridget McKenzie bills public for $20k private jet to ice-hockey game

April – May, 2018

First it was a $14,000 private jet to watch a Commonwealth Games basketball game to sit with Prince Charles; a month later it was a $20,000 jet to watch the Mustangs ice hockey team in Melbourne. 

Bridget McKenzie claimed $19,942 in travel expenses from Rockhampton to Melbourne for a chartered flight  to watch the little known Mustangs ice hockey team. Her 1,700 kilometre direct flight to the Victorian capital, where she watched the Melbourne Mustangs, cost taxpayers $19,942, Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority data showed.

An equivalent commercial flight, with a stop-over in Brisbane, would have cost just $614. In addition to the $19,942 flight, taxpayers also stumped up another $500 in Commonwealth car bills to get her from Melbourne’s Essendon airport, taking the cost of her chartered transport from Rockhampton to Melbourne to $20,442.

The minister’s spokesman reportedly said a charter flight was chosen because no commercial flights were available to get the minister to Melbourne in time for an urgent meeting of the Australian Sports Commission Board.

Just one month earlier, Senator McKenzie splurged $13,955.00 of taxpayers’ money to sit near Prince Charles at the 2018 Commonwealth games. The then-sports minister took the ‘unscheduled’ flight from the Gold Coast to Cairns in April 2018, even though Australia wasn’t playing. Prince Charles was seated in the front row, just two spots away from Senator McKenzie. Her office said she took the $14,000 ‘unscheduled’ flight so she could represent then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in Cairns as Prince Charles visited Far North Queensland.

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What's a rort?

Conflicts of Interest

Redirecting funding to pet hobbies; offering jobs to the boys without a proper tender process; secretly bankrolling candidates in elections; taking up private sector jobs in apparent breach of parliament’s code of ethics, the list goes on.

Deceptive Conduct

Claiming that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down when the facts clearly show otherwise; breaking the law on responding to FoI requests; reneging on promised legislation; claiming credit for legislation that doesn’t exist; accepting donations that breach rules. You get the drift of what behaviour this category captures.

Election Rorts

In the months before the last election, the Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money on grants for sports, community safety, rural development programs and more. Many of these grants were disproportionally awarded to marginal seats, with limited oversight and even less accountability.

Dubious Travel Claims

Ministerial business that just happens to coincide with a grand final or a concert; electorate business that must be conducted in prime tourist locations, or at the same time as party fundraisers. All above board, maybe, but does it really pass the pub test? Or does it just reinforce the fact that politicians take the public for mugs?

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