Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan.
Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan. LUKAS COCH

How much CQ MPs spent on election communication

SENATOR Matt Canavan spent more than 90 per cent of his 2016 communications claim during that year's federal election campaign.

The conservative senator claimed $60,832 during the election campaign, and $4315 for the rest of the year.

Senator Canavan's claim was a higher proportion of his total spend than most Queensland parliamentarians.

Fellow central Queensland LNP politician, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, claimed $41,910 during the campaign, 47 per cent of her entire 2016 claim.

Senator Canavan, the Natural Resources Minister, defended his use of the entitlement, stating it was normal to use more taxpayer funds during an election.

"All of our communications budget is spent according to the rules. It is unremarkable that communication with constituents is more concentrated during election campaigns," he said.

Ms Landry did not respond to questions on her use of the entitlement.

There is no suggestion the claims are outside the entitlement rules. There are no rules against parliamentarians using the printing and communications entitlement during election campaigns.

But experts have called for restrictions to be placed to stop politicians using taxpayer money to advertise themselves to voters, an advantage challengers do not have.

Two Queensland parliamentarians who lost their seats did not spend a cent on printing or communications outside the election campaign.

Former senator Glenn Lazarus and former LNP MP Wyatt Roy only used the allowance during the six-week campaign period, with Mr Lazarus claiming almost $100,000 in that period.

Mr Roy spent about $23,000 during the campaign and none before the election was called.

But recently retired LNP senator George Brandis claimed 99 per cent of his 2016 printing and communications allowance, $31,000, during the campaign. He spent just $89.55 for communicating with voters during the rest of the year. -NewsRegional

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