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Albo’s $750k expense bill revealed

QUESTION TIME
Anthony Albanese billed taxpayers almost $754,000 in the first three months of 2023, freshly released data reveals. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Anthony Albanese billed taxpayers almost $754,000 in the first three months of 2023, freshly released data reveals.

The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority on Thursday published details of how much each MP, senator, and some former parliamentarians and prime ministers spent in the first quarter of 2023 – more than a year after the fact.

It follows a vow from the government in December to do more to improve transparency around the data.

The Prime Minister spent $181,299 on international travel, $6474 on family travel, and $481,236 on employee travel.

An unscheduled visit to Fitzroy Crossing from Broome on January 9 last year cost taxpayers $6927, when Mr Albanese travelled to the town after it became isolated by unprecedented flood levels which damaged up to 100 homes and forced the evacuation of more than 280 people.

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spent more than $181,000 on international travel. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Monique Harmer

Peter Dutton was the next biggest spender in the quarter, charging a $552,165 bill.

More than $28,000 was spent on scheduled commercial transport, while $371,000 was spent on employee travel.

Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek was the biggest-spending minister, with receipts totally $390,495 for the quarter.

She spent more than $17,600 on international travel and $7797.56 on scheduled commercial transport.

Her car costs came in at $8145.90, including $2362.34 for a private plated vehicle.

She spent $27,374.53 on printing and communications during the quarter.

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Opposition Leader Peter Dutton was the second highest spender. Picture: NCA NewsWire / John Appleyard

Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel Minister Matt Keogh spent $362,096 during the quarter.

Trade and Tourism Minister Don Farrell charged taxpayers $351,138, and had the second-highest international travel bill of $61,076.

That included travel to India with Mr Albanese in March. It’s understood two trips to the United States in August and September 2022, and a trip to Europe and the United Kingdom in December 2022 were captured in the new data.

Rounding out the top 10 spenders, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten’s expenses came in at $349,663; Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen spent $332,745; Nationals Leader David Littleproud at $329,908; Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong with $329,714; and Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley who spent $328,236.

Independent Kennedy MP Bob Katter had the highest car-related expenses claim of $34,290 and the largest unscheduled commercial transport bill of $41,648.

Among his ComCar charges was a $1411 charge described as “Brisbane, 2 Feb 23”, while unscheduled travel from Julia Creek to Townsville from April 2022, declared in the Jan-March 2023 reporting period, cost $9760.

Bob Katter - Reducing Supermarket Dominance Bill 2024
Kennedy MP Bob Katter had car-related expenses of more than $34,000. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Mr Katter has one of the largest electorates in the country, and has electorate offices in Innisfail, Mount Isa and Mareeba.

In a statement, Mr Katter said all his travel was “within entitlements and guidelines”.

“The electorate of Kennedy is 568 993 sq km (from the Gulf of Carpentaria and Mareeba in the north, to Boulia in the south, and from the Queensland border in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east) and allowances for charter travel are provided so that MPs in large electorates can get around and service their electorates,” he said.

“Flying in little light aeroplanes, often single engine, is stupidly dangerous and torturously uncomfortable. But if you want to get to Doomadgee, Mornington Island, Karumba, and Boulia, that’s what you have to do.”

Mark Coulton, the MP for the sprawling NSW electorate of Warialda, had the second highest “unscheduled commercial transport” claim pile, totalling $39,009 and included an overnight trip from Dubbo to Broken Hill in January that cost $5750.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones –who came under fire last month for racking up a $43,000 Comcar bill between April and December 2022 – claimed $19,000 on the cars in the first quarter of 2023.

“Parliamentarians are able to access travel, including flights and COMCAR for their parliamentary business, in accordance with the relevant rules and guidelines,” a spokeswoman for Mr Jones said.