Slipper second-biggest spender in travel entitlements
THE "Marco Polo" of Federal Parliament during his 23 years in office has lost none of his appetite for travel after losing his seat in 2013.
Former Fisher MP Peter Slipper has finished a close second behind Labor's Steven Smith in the spend-up-big Lifetime Gold Pass travel stakes according to the latest data on federal parliamentary entitlements.
Much of the $8557.16 bill he presented to taxpayers followed the familiar path of his parliamentary career, flights from Brisbane via Sydney.
Mr Smith, a former West Australian member of the House of Representatives and also a Minister for Defence, Trade and Foreign Affairs, received $9038.12.
Data supplied through the Department of Finance however has revealed that the total hit by former parliamentarians on the public purse from the scheme has been relatively minimal compared even with some of Mr Slipper's claims while a member of the House of Representatives.
Eligibility for the Lifetime Gold Pass scheme requires 20 years' service as a senator, parliamentarian or parliamentary secretary. Serving one year as prime minister or surviving seven parliaments as a senator or member also qualifies for 10 domestic return trips annually.
Former Fairfax MP Alex Somlyay, who retired ahead of the 2013 election, used none of his entitlements, one of 15 of 43 eligible to do so. Only 23 of those eligible made claims with a further five required to repay the cost of claimed travel.
The 23 who claimed received a total $73,325.17 while a further $59,709.24 was paid in severance and post retirement travel $12,601 of which was received by former WA Liberal Senator Dr Alan Eggleston. Another former WA senator, Labor's Mark Bishop, received $11,601.69.
Mr Slipper, who this year had three dishonesty convictions for abuse of entitlements dismissed on appeal, infamously racked up huge bills for ground and air transport during his parliamentary career.
In the period from July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, he billed taxpayers more than $513,000 in expenses.
The Department of Finance said it did not comment on the entitlements of former parliamentarians.