Pharmacist MP pays up for flight ‘error’

Emma McBride

Hospital pharmacist and Labor MP Emma McBride has repaid the cost of a flight from Perth to Canberra after it was billed to taxpayers

The Daily Telegraph and Express Advocate report that Ms McBride billed taxpayers $1655.40 for a business class flight from Perth to Canberra on November 20, 2016, for Parliament’s final sitting week.

This was one day after the close of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists’ Medications Management 2016 conference. The News Corp articles say that “mystery” surrounds the purpose of Ms McBride’s Perth trip.

Neither Ms McBride’s office nor the SHPA would confirm whether Ms McBride had attended the conference, which took place in Perth from 16 to 19 November 2016.

Ms McBride is the member for Dobell, on NSW’s Central Coast.

After the Express Advertiser queried the cost of the flight, as well as a $78.60 Comcar charge – also on November 20 – Ms McBride repaid the amount.

“The claim for that flight was corrected and fully repaid as soon as Emma was made aware,” a spokesperson from Ms McBride’s office told the AJP.

The incident comes not long after the establishment of the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, which began work on July 1 to keep an eye on federal politicians’ expenses.

This followed the row over travel expenses claimed by former Health Minister Sussan Ley, who resigned following media speculation over the issue. These expenses included the $12,000 charter of a private plane to attend the Pharmacy Guild’s APP Conference in March 2016.

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  1. The Cynic

    I hope this was an honest mistake.
    The fact she has repaid is good. But there is always the question of whether this was done because she realised her mistake or was found out.
    In any case an alternative explanation for the trip would be helpful (if not attending the SHPA conference). Or an admission of sloppy electoral office practice if a personal trip was billed to the tax payer.
    Not really a pharmacy issue…but what to do over a cup of coffee when you don’t smoke and there’s no biscuits? ( clue- share your idle thoughts)

  2. Ronky

    Hard to see how it could have been an honest mistake.
    Firstly there is no mention of how she got TO Perth, so presumably she did that at her own expense. So she realised she was not going there on official parliamentary business
    Secondly an MP’s electorate office (not “electoral” office, that’s a totally different thing) and its staff are totally paid for by the taxpayers and are solely to assist him with his official duties as an MP. She should have organised the booking and payment for her return flight from Perth in her own free time and at her own expense. If she asked her electorate office staff to do this, they should have replied, “sorry that’s not our job to organise your social life outside of work or to develop your career outside of Parliament”. It’s more than just “sloppy practice”.
    Thirdly I’m sick of politicians getting caught (months or years afterwards) having blatantly stolen money from the taxpayers for their personal non-work use, and they get away with just paying the money back and all is forgiven and forgotten and they go on climbing the political ladder. At the very least, they should have to pay back double the amount stolen, to encourage them to take steps to avoid such “mistakes” in future.

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