New reports today reveal the part-time Member for Dawson, George Christensen, has spent more than $3,000 of taxpayers’ money to subsidise his own private trips to the Philippines.
According to these reports, on five separate occasions Mr Christensen charged the taxpayer to fly from Canberra to other Australian cities from where he then jetted off on his private overseas trips.
Rules around parliamentary expenses entitle MPs to a flight from Canberra to their home base before and after parliamentary sitting weeks.
But instead of returning to his home base in Mackay after Parliament,
Mr Christensen was able to fly directly out of Sydney or Brisbane on five separate occasions, saving him thousands of dollars.
This has now become a test of leadership for Scott Morrison and he needs to declare today if he continues to have confidence in Mr Christensen.
Did he know about Mr Christensen using taxpayer-funded flights to help subsidise private overseas trips?
What steps has he taken to assure himself that Mr Christensen hasn’t obtained a personal benefit from taxpayer-funded flights?
Does he approve of Mr Christensen’s use of taxpayer funds to subsidise his private trips overseas?
Does he think this is an appropriate use of taxpayers’ money? Has Mr Morrison taken any steps to investigate if Mr Christensen has used taxpayer funds to help subsidise any other personal trips?
Reports recently emerged that Mr Christensen spent nearly 300 days overseas, in a four-year period, prompting LNP colleagues to call him “the Member for Manila”.
Spending almost 300 days out of his electorate on personal overseas trips is bad enough – charging the taxpayer to help him get overseas is even worse.
The evidence is mounting that Mr Christensen‘s priority is his overseas trips, rather than fighting for his electorate.
Every day Mr Christensen spent in the Philippines is a day he wasn’t stopping the LNP’s cuts to Mackay Base Hospital, or fixing the rampant casualisation of work across his electorate.
Dawson needs a full-time fighter in Parliament, not a part-timer who’s more interested in jetting off overseas.
Scott Morrison cannot hide from this any longer and must declare today whether he continues to have confidence in his part-time Member of Parliament.