Warren Truss chartered flight three days before Bishop saga
WIDE Bay MP and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has once again come under fire for spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on a charter flight.
Reports yesterday said Mr Truss chartered a one-way flight between Port Macquarie and Sydney last Thursday - three days before Speaker Bronwyn Bishop was forced to resign over the "Choppergate" furore over her extravangant travel expenses.
Mr Truss took the charter flight on Thursday while other politicians in Port Macquarie caught a commercial flight.
Mr Truss's flight left Port Macquarie half an hour before the commercial Qantas flight departed for the same route and landed 50 minutes before the commercial flight.
A spokesman for Mr Truss' office said the commercial flight was not an option on that day, as Mr Truss needed to be in Sydney for a media conference regarding the airplane debris found on La Reunion Island.
Mr Truss had been in Port Macquarie for a "series of commitments" including a joint media conference with New South Wales Minister Duncan Gay at the Hastings River Bridge.
The spokesman said Mr Truss also needed to be back in Sydney for an evening commitment at the Boao Forum for Asia.
"The only possible return commercial flight was a Qantas flight departing Port Macquarie at 3.45pm. This would have been extremely tight for his Boao commitment and the high risk that the Hastings River media conference would go overtime given the high level of interest on that day surrounding both the Bridge event and debris found on La Reunion Island," the spokesman said.
It is not clear how much the chartered flight, which was booked last minute the day before it took off, would have cost the taxpayer, but it is estimated to have cost in the thousands.
The chartered flight touched down at 4.10pm - just before the press conference which was scheduled to start at 4.15pm.
The press conference, which had been requested by media unable to visit Port Macquarie, did not start until 4.30pm.
The spokesperson said the commercial flight did not land until about 5pm.
Mr Truss did arrive in Port Macquarie on a commercial flight earlier that day.
The flight was chartered less than a week after it was revealed Mr Truss had spent more than $21,000 on a charter flight between Canberra and Brisbane to make a post-budget speech at the Conservative Breakfast Club in Brisbane about the need for the government to save money.
WHAT YOU SAID
Keith Tarrier: They can not be trusted. Need 100% transparency on all their allowances and fully independent body to oversee it... But that will never happen
Belinda Frew: If politicians had to pay a portion of the cost of each travel expense they claimed would they still choose to travel in the same manner.??Eg helicopter vs driving oneself.
Kristy Jorgensen: I mean, he didn't really dump her. She quit for 1 and he then defended her relentlessly saying it wasn't her fault...so...either way, politicians spend way too much of the public purse whilst telling us to reign in spending
Chrissy Gonefishin: Never too late for a reality check for all the politicians on all sides....bring it on