The West

Stopover perk axed for WA MPs
Don Randall, defended his use of travel entitlements.

WA MPs will no longer be able to bill the taxpayer to stay overnight in Melbourne to go to the football following a crack down on travel rules.

The change comes after Liberal Don Randall drew fire last year for having claimed more than $5000 for a trip to Melbourne, where he and his wife attended a West Coast Eagles AFL game.

Changes to travel rules quietly released by the Remuneration Tribunal this week ordered that politicians heading to Canberra from WA or the Northern Territory could no longer charge taxpayers for overnight stopovers unless they could prove no connecting flight was available.

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Previously, politicians could claim a hotel stay in Melbourne or Sydney on the way to Canberra if they were wanting to "break a journey".

The new rules, which came into effect this week, mean MPs can only make a claim if they can prove the stopover was "caused by there being no same-day connecting flight reasonably available".

When Mr Randall was challenged about his use of taxpayer funds to stop in Melbourne with his wife to watch the football, he was unrepentant, and suggested many other MPs were exploiting the loophole.

"It’s totally within the entitlement," he told The West Australian in October.

"Just to illustrate that, you might want to check the front bar of the Hilton Hotel (in Melbourne) on grand final day and see how many members of all parties are there.

"I am sure they are probably making it their business to examine the MCG as part of their parliamentary business. That’s tongue in cheek of course."

Mr Randall was forced to pay back almost $5000 in flights claimed for a trip to Cairns with his wife where he had an investment property.

Rules have also have been tightened for family members travelling with MPs.

They’ll now only get a travel allowance if they travel with the MP. Wives or husbands of MPs cannot claim if they arrive at a destination before the MP or leave more than 24 hours after.

WA Liberal MP Steve Irons was forced to pay back almost $10,000 in taxpayer funds in wrongly claimed airfares and car transport fees.

Though a member for a WA seat, Mr Irons spent almost 130 nights in Melbourne and 20 nights in Adelaide over a two-year period.

The West Australian

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