Sussan Ley defends expenses after stepping aside

Ley has attempted to explain the problematic travel expenses in full and is “very confident” she has not broken any rules

During a press conference on Monday, Ms Ley said the decision to step aside as the Minister for Health and Aged Care, and Minister for Sport, was mutually agreed to between herself and the Prime Minister.

Regarding expense claims for New Year’s Eve trips in 2013 and 2014, Ms Ley says she travelled to the Gold Coast during those dates at the invitation of a prominent Queensland businesswoman.

“In 2013, it was for a business lunch, and in 2014 it was for her annual New Year’s Eve event. In 2013, I claimed flights and taxis to get to the lunch, but as I was on annual leave from the next day, I didn’t claim accommodation,” Ms Ley explains.

“Similarly, in 2014, I did not claim accommodation as I stayed privately. On 1 January 2015, I travelled to a sporting function in Sydney as the Minister for Sport.”

Regarding expense claims for a Gold Coast trip during which Ms Ley and her partner purchased a property, she explains that the trip was planned in order to attend several business events.

It was on arrival that Ms Ley’s partner drew her attention to an auction to occur the following day.

“I want to be very clear – my decision late Friday to attend this auction was made after I had planned to travel to the Gold Coast from Brisbane,” she stated.

“The purchase of this particular property was neither planned nor anticipated,” she reiterated.

“I realise that my purchase of the unit changed the character of the occasion to one of a more personal nature, and I should have adjusted my claim accordingly.”

Ms Ley stated that she is “very confident” in the outcome of the two independent investigations that will be conducted by the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“I think it’s fair to say my office staff are working on this now, to get that information made available as quickly as possible so we can get to the end of this and I can get back to my job.”

When asked whether her agreement to pay back some of the costs for the Gold Coast trip were an admission of breaking the rules, Ms Ley responded negatively.

“It’s not an admission that I’ve broken the rules, and I’m very confident that the investigations will demonstrate that no rules were broken whatsoever,” she says.

“My offer to repay the funds was particularly because, in hindsight, the character of my visit to the Gold Coast on this particular occasion changed the moment I unexpectedly was the successful bidder at that auction.”

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  1. Leopold Hamulczyk

    She should apologise rather than defend herself. While her spending MAY have been according to the rules it definitely wasn’t according to community expectations. Another of the “entitled” class.

    • Tony Lee

      You are being kind Leopold. A clear case of ‘nose in the trough’; an unfortunate habit of the ‘entitled’ class. The choice of candidate to represent us is flawed. Called Democracy & little has changed in it’s existence. Mz.Ley has lost credibility whether she fits the ‘guidelines’ or not.
      nb. I enjoy your posts..keep them rolling.

  2. Simon O'Halloran

    I’m not going into the right or wrong here, but curious as to whom leaked or tipped off about the expenses: Was it the opposition, or is Malcolm in the throes of reshuffling the deckchairs on the titanic yet again?

    If Australia is serious about ministerial expenditure, start by looking at their pensions.

  3. Kevin Hayward

    The Guardian today suggests that the problem is even bigger than first suspected, the article reports:

    “On Tuesday the Herald Sun reported that Ley had twice inspected a different Gold Coast property in August and September 2014 and billed taxpayers for a trip to do so from 5 to 8 September.

    Retired couple Adrienne and Stewart McEachran told the newspaper that Ley and her partner, Graham Johnston, inspected their home in Advancetown, in the Gold Coast hinterland before unsuccessfully bidding to buy it.

    Finance department documents confirm that Ley billed taxpayers more than $2,000 in travel costs for a long weekend on the Gold Coast from 5 to 8 September, 2014.”

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