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Socialism 'on the march' to blame for Sussan Ley standing down over expenses controversy: Bronwyn Bishop

Former speaker Bronwyn Bishop has jumped to the defence of Sussan Ley, accusing socialists of tearing her down and arguing that double standards exist for women and men in politics. 

Ms Bishop, who was herself forced to resign after claiming $5227 in taxpayer-funded expenses for a helicopter ride to a Liberal Party fundraiser, said Ms Ley's critics were ideologically motivated and fuelled by the "Twitterati" and 24-hour news.

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Bronwyn Bishop's extraordinary spray

The former speaker has blamed socialists for the scrutiny over Sussan Ley's travel expenses saga, comparing them to alcoholics, before turning her attack to the Labor Party.

Ms Ley stood aside as Health Minister on Monday morning pending the outcome of an investigation into her travel claims, following revelations she bought an $800,000 apartment on a taxpayer-funded trip to Gold Coast and has taken 27 flights in and out of the area in recent years, including two for New Year's Eve engagements.

Ms Bishop said that she didn't have specific knowledge of how Ms Ley's travel was arranged "but I do know that there are socialists out there who want to attack free enterprise and anyone who sticks up for it. And I know that socialists, like alcoholics, will blame anyone but themselves. And whereas alcoholics can damage their own families, socialists can destroy the whole country."

The former speaker said the two inquiries into Ms Ley's expenses - by the Department of Finance and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet - should be allowed to run their course without the cabinet minister "being attacked by people behaving like a pack of dogs".

"But let's understand that there are people out there who wish to destroy free enterprise and those who stick up for it. Whereas socialism, which is always on the march, if you expose it, it can be defeated. And be under no illusions, whenever you see some of these arguments come to the fore, there will always be an ideological component," the former member for Mackellar told Sky News. 

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"But what's this got to do with socialism?" pressed host Laura Jayes.

"A lot, a lot. Socialists will always blame anyone but themselves."

Ms Bishop also criticised Labor for its response.

Acting Opposition Leader Penny Wong was quick to criticise Ms Ley's explanation - and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's decision not to sack the minister - at a press conference on Monday.

"I found it pretty, pretty disgusting to see the Labor sending out a woman to attack another woman this morning. I don't think that's a good look either," Ms Bishop said.

"And to be blunt, if you look at the socialist side of the Labor Party, you look at the people in there and the blokes who have...done many more things like that and, quite frankly, nothing happens. So I think there's one rule for some and a different rule for others."

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