NDL letter regarding travel expenses

30 Sep 2013

Letter to the Editor

It is inevitable the Labor opposition will trawl through my past hoping to launch a personal attack now that I have been sworn in as a cabinet minister.


While I accept this is part and parcel of modern politics, being able to defend your innocence is very difficult when the facts behind the attacks have been reported incorrectly.


Mud sticks, and that is why your opponents throw it in the first place.


Having always been very conscious of taxpayer money, I was among those who suspected the worst when I read the media reports at the weekend detailing the 2011 expense claims.


The newspaper articles made my car trip to a motel sound like some great expedition. 


As I told journalists at the weekend, I immediately began an investigation to determine the realities of the two-year-old incident.


I am now confident there was no wrongdoing on my part.


The facts speak for themselves.  I did not claim a motel expense.  I did not claim any flights.  I was travelling through the region on official business for a television interview on The Bolt Report.


The only expense I claimed was the car trip from the television studio to the motel.


There has never been any secret that I attended the wedding of broadcaster Michael Smith in 2011.  In fact, it was reported by The Australian at the time.


Despite this, yesterday I repaid the $615.90 parliamentary expense to the department of finance to remove any confusion among taxpayers over the issue.


This is well below the figure in excess of $1000 incorrectly reported in yesterday’s The Northern Daily Leader editorial.


So in summary, this is simply an issue about a car trip.


I know there will continue to be attempts by the federal opposition to attack my integrity.  But in the future I hope the facts will be reported accurately and honestly.


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