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Public pays for Andrew Laming’s father-in-law’s flights; $13,500 family trip to NT

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Dubious Travel Claims | QED
Liberal National Party

Public pays for Andrew Laming’s father-in-law’s flights; $13,500 family trip to NT

Coalition MP Andrew Laming claimed $4,000 for four family trips, including for his father-in-law, to Cairns in 2015 and 2016. When asked how his in-law’s trip related to Laming’s role as an MP, he said the taxpayer-funded spending was within his entitlements.

In 2017 Coalition MP Andrew Laming charged taxpayers more than $13,500 for his wife and daughters to accompany him on a week-long trip to the Northern Territory. This included more than $3,000 each for business-class flights from Kununurra to Brisbane via Perth. It has been reported that Laming did not claim travel allowance for accommodation costs or meals, which is allowed when travelling on legitimate parliamentary business.

Mr Laming told the Redland City Bulletin his family’s visit to Kununurra was exclusively work-related – to attend the annual NAIDOC week and to inspect the cashless welfare card roll-out.

Laming also reportedly claimed more than $4,000 from taxpayers for family travel on four trips to Cairns, including flights for his father-in-law. The trips were taken in April and June of 2015 and twice late in 2016. When asked by the Redland City Bulletin how his father-in-law’s trip to northern Queensland related to Laming’s role as Bowman MP, Laming said the taxpayer-funded expenditure was within his entitlements.

Laming also reportedly claimed $1,179 in family reunion travel entitlements to pay for his wife to fly home to Brisbane from a 2019 work conference in Melbourne. Olesja Laming, an agriculture industry recruitment consultant, was attending the annual conference for the Australian horticulture industry. Laming flew from Brisbane to Melbourne on 26 June 2019 and joined his wife at the final day of the conference. The pair travelled home the following day, with Laming charging both his and his wife’s air fares to his parliamentary allowances. Laming told Guardian Australia he had been informally invited to attend the conference to meet with Queensland constituents about developing a Queensland food science precinct.

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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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