HONEST MAL: Sunshine Coast MP, Mal Brough, has posted all his travel expenses on his website for his costituents to see.
HONEST MAL: Sunshine Coast MP, Mal Brough, has posted all his travel expenses on his website for his costituents to see. MICK TSIKAS

Brough posts travel costs amid politicians' spending ruckus

WITH the spending habits of politicians in the spotlight, a veteran Sunshine Coast MP has set out to show he can account for every dollar of taxpayer's money he has spent on travel since taking office.

Member for Fisher, Mal Brough, has posted his annual travel costs on his own website in an apparent bid to deflect criticism which is enveloping his colleagues.

Bronwyn Bishop was forced to resign from her position of Federal Speaker last week after it was revealed she spent $5227 on a helicopter flight from Geelong and Melbourne to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, the Member for Wide Bay, came under fire for spending $21,570 on a chartered flight between Canberra and Brisbane.

By comparison, Mr Brough has only spent a total of $20,186.30 in domestic travel from July 2013 to May 31 this year.

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His predecessor in the electorate, Peter Slipper, spent $34,949.26 in the first half of 2013 alone.

Growing concern surrounding the use of taxpayer funds prompted Mr Brough to provide easy and transparent access to his travel expenses on his website.

"You could forgive the public for thinking everyone was struggling to get it right when it came to their expenses, but overwhelmingly the majority of MPs don't get it wrong and do meet community expectations," he said.

Dates, times, class and a brief description of every MP's expense claims are already available on the Department of Finance's website, but Mr Brough decided to provide a breakdown in even greater detail through a new link on his website.

Most of his travel was between the electorate and parliament, but he also travelled in his role as the National Disability Insurance Scheme chair.

Mr Brough would not be drawn on whether he thought his fellow MPs should follow his lead.

"You can't talk about there being financial crises and then not actually do what you can to curtail your own costs in your own way," he said.

"I'm not going to stand in judgement of others. Each person is big enough to make their own decisions and stand by them."

Mr Brough claimed $10,533.08 in travel expenses for his wife Sue, who works as a volunteer staff member at his Canberra office, from July 2013 to May this year.

He said this saved taxpayers $50,000 in staff travel allowances and every time he drove himself, at his own expense, from his Coast home to Brisbane Airport he saved between $200 and $300 on Comcar costs.

Mr Brough said he also booked flights for work engagements in advance, taking advantage of discount economy airfares.

There was only one occasion in 2013, two in 2014 and three so far this year where he flew Business Class and he said they were last-minute meetings where economy seats were no longer an option.

Mr Brough said his decision to lay it all out online came down to building trust with his constituents.

"This is a fundamental issue about the values and principals that people want to have total confidence in," he said.

"If people can trust what I am doing is right for the community, they can help me deal with issues that matter, like how we get the Coast more employment opportunities for kids."

DOMESTIC TRAVEL EXPENSES

MAL BROUGH

Member for Fisher

July 1 - December 30: 2013 - $3,097.81

2014 - $10,922.90

2015 to 31 May - $6,618.59

WYATT ROY

Member for Longman

2013 - $22,820.37

2014 - $41,463.93

2015 not yet available

CLIVE PALMER

Member for Fairfax

July 1 - December 30: 2013 - $1072.06

2014 - $6102.94

2015 not yet available

PETER SLIPPER

Former Member for Fisher

January 1 - June 30:

2013 - $34,949.26

ALEX SOMLYAY

Former Member for Fairfax

January 1 - June 30:

2013 - $9653.24

Source: Department of Finance website



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