George Christensen defends taxpayer-funded connecting flights to Philippines holidays

18-Apr-2019 Intellasia | 9news | 6:38 AM Print This Post

LNP member George Christensen has defending spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on domestic connecting flights for private trips to the Philippines.

Christensen billed taxpayers for domestic flights to international airports so he could fly to the Philippines, where he has a fiancee.

“I am absolutely confident that the travel was undertaken within the rules,” he said in a statement.

“But to remove any doubt I will refer the matter to the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority today so this issue does not distract from the things which matter to Dawson like Labour/Greens attacks on coal mining jobs, farming and fishing.”

The member for Dawson in far North Queensland has spent 294 days in the Philippines in the last four years.

The Herald Sun found Christensen billed taxpayers $3096 for three flights between Canberra and Brisbane, and one between Canberra and Sydney.

From there, Christensen flew to Manila.

The Australian Federal Police investigated Christensen’s trips but did not find any wrongdoing.

Speaking in Tasmania today, prime minister Scott Morrison declined to criticise the backbencher.

“George has referred himself to the independent parliamentary expenses authority and I’m sure that when that report comes in, George will comply with it,” he said.

Christensen’s frequent travel to the Philippines has become the subject of a Labour attack ad against him.

“Between being in the Philippines and Canberra, when is he here?” the ad said.

“We want someone who stands up for schools, hospitals and jobs, not someone who spends hundreds of days in the Philippines.”

Christensen holds his electorate, which includes the city of Mackay and its surrounds, by a margin of only a few percentage points.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said an MP cannot do his job while spending 300 days overseas.

“You can’t be an effective member of parliament with that much overseas travel,” he told reporters in Perth.

“Everybody needs a break occasionally. This is beyond the pale.”

“He’s not the member for Dawson. He’s the member for Manila.”

https://www.9news.com.au/national/george-christensen-taxpayer-flights-philippines-australian-politics-news/a731a461-665a-4e06-aebd-ef23adaf5ef2

 


Category: Philippines

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