Liberal member for Canning, Don Randall, pictured during question time in 2009, has rejected the need for close examination of MP's expenses. Photo: Stefan Postles
Senior federal ministers have suggested it is all but inevitable that the Abbott government will tighten the rules governing politicians' entitlements, in the wake of the expenses scandal.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said he had “no doubt” the Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson would recommend improvements to the system, which has allowed a quarter of the Coalition frontbench to claim about $16,000 alone to attend weddings on the public purse.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has indicated reform to MP's expenses is likely. Photo: Glenn Hunt
“Whenever there are sensible suggestions to improve the system of course we would consider that,” Senator Cormann told ABC's Lateline program on Monday night.
“Of course [Senator Ronaldson] is looking at these issues and no doubt at some point in time he will be making some recommendations to the government on whether there are some areas that can be further improved.
“This is obviously an area where the public expect politicians to act responsibly and act within the rules.”
The Special Minister of State, Senator Ronaldson, said he would have “more to say” about tightening the rules around entitlements.
“I've had a lot of constructive advice … I'm taking that all on board,” Senator Ronaldson told ABC radio on Monday.
In recent weeks Fairfax Media has exposed numerous examples of questionable entitlements claims, leading to politicians from both major parties, including Prime Minister Tony Abbott, repaying thousands of dollars claimed to attend events such as weddings.
One of the more controversial cases involves West Australian MP Don Randall, who claimed more than $5000 to travel to Cairns in the same week he took possession of his investment property.
Since being exposed by Fairfax Media, Mr Randall has refunded taxpayers for the Cairns trip but he refuses to repay another taxpayer-funded trip of more than $5000 he took with his wife to Melbourne to watch an AFL semi-final.