Peter Slipper and wife,Inga, celebrate his poll win in 2010
Peter Slipper and wife,Inga, celebrate his poll win in 2010

Still flying high: Slipper's $36,000 of travel in six months

PETER Slipper has defended his travel expenses and office costs revealed in the latest release on Parliamentary Entitlements.

The figures, released by the Department of Finance on Monday night, show the former Speaker spent the most of any Sunshine Coast MP on overseas travel during the six-month period July 1 to December 31 last year.

He racked up a bill of $36,388 - a figure higher than the then former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd's $26,466, but considerably lower than Senator Joe Hogg's $173,000.

Mr Slipper has explained much of this travel occurred during the period he was Speaker and was expected to travel and host guests.

He did not mention that he stood down as Speaker months before, on April 22.

"You cannot, with any integrity, compare the expenditure of the Speaker's office with that of a backbencher's office," Mr Slipper told the Daily yesterday.

"For most of that period I was Speaker and any overseas travel, one trip to the Middle East, was in my capacity as Speaker and my wife did not accompany me as she was entitled to do."


However, Mr Slipper also claimed $5463 for "family travel costs" during that period.

When it came to "office facilities", Mr Slipper's figures were again the highest of the four MPs in the region, spending $79,946.33.

His closest competitor was his nemesis, retiring MP Alex Somlyay, who spent $70,286.

Mr Slipper suggested the former staffers he blames for his downfall, James Ashby and Karen Doane, may have contributed to this figure.

"I also think the Commonwealth paid (James) Ashby for some of this period, though he was not working and (Karen) Doane for all of it (though she was not working).

This is also not correct.

A Department of Finance spokeswoman said staff-related costs "are not included in the six monthly expenditure


Mr Slipper officially resigned from the role of Speaker on October 9 amid huge controversy about his relationship with Mr Ashby and alleged misuse of parliamentary entitlements.

But in May, Mr Slipper pleaded not guilty to three charges of fraudulently using his parliamentary entitlements for unexplained amount of $964.

Mr Slipper has long been criticised for his loose use of parliamentary entitlements.

In the last six months of 2009, he racked up $640,562 in expenses.