Palmer defends post-retirement expenses claim
FORMER Sunshine Coast MP Clive Palmer has defended an expenses claim he made to travel to Canberra - four months after he retired from office.
Mr Palmer flew from Brisbane to Canberra on November 9 last year before flying back to the Gold Coast the next day - at a cost to taxpayers of $1,383.25.
During the trip Mr Palmer attended the High Court where his lawyers unsuccessfully tried to keep him out of the witness box in relation to his collapsed Queensland Nickel refinery in Townsville.
Mr Palmer attempted to argue it was unconstitutional for the courts to compel him to answer questions in relation to the collapse which left liquidators chasing a bill for $66 million worth of unpaid worker's entitlements.
The court took just five minutes to dismiss the appeal and ordered Mr Palmer's team to pay the liquidator's costs.
Under the rules which govern former federal politicians' entitlements, ex-MPs can claim flights in the first six months after they retire - with the number of flights they can claim being reduced from five to three at the start of July this year.
However the travel can't be claimed if the purpose of the trip was commercial.
When asked if the sole purpose of his trip was attending the High Court Mr Palmer said he had another meeting on the same day.
At th high court. Things looking good. pic.twitter.com/jcAAx7IiRi— Clive Palmer (@CliveFPalmer) November 10, 2016
"No, I went to visit Parliament and met friends and others there", Mr Palmer said.
The newly created Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority - which was set up in the wake of Sussan Ley's expenses claim scandal - declined to comment on whether it was investigating the matter.
"Information relating to individual current or former Parliamentarians and information relating to their employees is not made available outside of the publically available reporting processes and requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982," a spokesman said.
When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced administration of politicians' expenses would be moved from the Department of Finance to IPEA, on February 9 this year, he said: "Australians rightly expect that politicians spend taxpayers' money carefully, ensuring at all times that their work expenditure represents an ethical, prudent, and cost-effective use of public resources."
Mr Turnbull's office was asked if the PM believed this matter should be investigated but a spokesman said he had no comment to make at this stage.