Australian Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey during a visit to a manufacturing business in Padstow, Sydney, Thursday, July 23, 2015.
Australian Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey during a visit to a manufacturing business in Padstow, Sydney, Thursday, July 23, 2015. AAP Image - Carol Cho

Joe Hockey defends flying his family business class to WA

TREASURER Joe Hockey has defended reports he spent more than $14,000 of taxpayers' money on a trip to Perth two years ago, which included flying his wife and three children business class, while he was still in opposition.

In a statement Sunday, a spokeswoman from his office said Western Australia was critical in the 2013 election campaign and that he had work meetings on every day of his trip.

"His chief-of-staff and family accompanied him on the trip, all within the rules," the Treasurer's spokeswoman said.

She also said the trip was taken less than five months in the lead-up to that year's Federal Election.

As the scandal into politicians' travel expenses continues, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sunday that there were things which had been "inside the rules" but were "outside of community expectations".

"The point that I'm making is that the sorts of things that would be inappropriate for people in business should likewise be not something that Members of Parliament do," he said in an interview with Channel Nine's Today program.

At a press conference on the weekend, Mr Hockey said every dollar was precious.

"You have to be precious with every dollar of taxpayers' money, I've always said that," Mr Hockey said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, polls have shown a slump in support for Mr Abbott since the expenses scandal started weeks ago, which led to former speaker Bronwyn Bishop resigning from her position.

Fairfax's ReachTEL poll showed Labor had a 53% majority on a two-party preferred basis.

The poll also showed almost half of voters were less likely to support Mr Abbott following the expenses scandal.

A committee is investigating federal politicians' expenses and will complete a report by the first half of next year.

Shadow transport minister Anthony Albanese said Sunday there was disconnect between the Australian public and political system, and that the inquiry should be done at "arm's length from politicians".

- APN NEWSDESK



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