Federal Politics

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Sussan Ley bought home from large Liberal Party donor on taxpayer-funded trip

The $795,000 Gold Coast apartment that Health Minister Sussan Ley bought on a taxpayer-funded trip was purchased from a large Liberal Party donor who knew her "in a professional capacity".

Ms Ley and her partner charged taxpayers $3949 for flights during the two-day trip to Queensland in May 2015 during which Ms Ley made an announcement about the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Brisbane.

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Minister's expensive impulse buy

There are calls for Health Minister Sussan Ley to be sacked after revelations she bought a unit on the Gold Coast, while on a taxpayer funded trip with her husband.

Ms Ley claims that, in the same trip, she met health stakeholders on the Gold Coast but also made an unexpected purchase of an apartment on Main Beach Parade with a view of the ocean. 

Property records show Sussan Penelope Ley bought the home from Martin Henry Corkery, a Queensland man who donated $50,000 to the Queensland Liberal National Party in 2011.

Mr Corkery, who runs the childcare business Children First Learning Centres, said he met Ms Ley when she was the opposition childcare spokeswoman. 

But he said he had no idea Ms Ley or her partner was a bidder at the auction, which took place when he was in Paris.


"She could have been Prince William for all I knew," he said.  

Mr Corkery said he first became aware Ms Ley was the purchaser when he saw her name on settlement records and corrected the spelling, adding in an extra s. 

He said Ms Ley bought the home for the same amount as the final auction bid and his previous donations had nothing to do with the $795,000 home sale. 

"I would never make a donation to the Liberal Party for that amount," Mr Corkery said, laughing.

"It was a commercial transaction, that was the end of it."

He added that his $50,000 donation to the Liberal National Party had been made to support the election hopes of Campbell Newman.

A spokeswoman for Ms Ley has described the purchase as "not planned nor anticipated".

"The Entitlements Management Branch was consulted at the time to confirm Ms Ley's partner's travel was within the rules," the spokeswoman said.

"All travel undertaken was in accordance with the rules." 

Opposition health spokesperson Catherine King said "Sussan Ley's explanation that the purchase 'was not planned nor anticipated' is woefully inadequate and an insult to Australians." 

Ms King called on Ms Ley to better explain herself or resign. 

The minister has not named which health stakeholders she met during her tip.