Maranoa MP Bruce Scott.
Maranoa MP Bruce Scott. Tom Gillespie

How a Qld MP spent $34,000 on 'rejuvenating democracy'

IT COST taxpayers $34,000 for former Maranoa MP Bruce Scott to discuss "rejuvenating democracy" and explain to global governments how Australia plans to encourage the next generation of politics, it can be revealed.

As the fall-out from sidelined federal front bencher Sussan Ley continues around her reported impulse property buy on the Gold Coast, a review of the region's now-retired federal politicians shows large sums of cash were splashed on various trips.

Mr Scott charged almost $250,000 in expenses to taxpayers for the six months to June 30, 2016, including more than $42,000 in chartered flights around the Maranoa electorate and $50,000 in office expenses.

When Mr Scott in March last year travelled to Lusaka, Zambia for the 134th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly, taxpayers were hit with a $33,960 bill, of which $32,750 was for flights.

"During the assembly, I participated in the general debate on the topic of rejuvenating democracy and used this opportunity to explain the measures that the parliament and other organisations, such as the Australian Electoral Commission, are undertaking to ensure that the next generation of Australians is ready to participate in our democratic processes," Mr Scott said in his delegation report tabled in parliament.

Under the current expenditure rules, payments for overseas travel can include anything in official capacity and cover fares, transport, accommodation, meals and other expenses including passports and other associated costs.

The sum can also cover costs for accompanying spouses and employees.

The Chronicle found first class flights from Sydney to Lusaka at the same time in 2017 are available (return) from $11,600.

Mr Scott also racked up more than $42,400 in charter flights around the sprawling Maranoa electorate.

Retired member for Groom Ian Macfarlane recorded total expenses of $101,756 for the six months to June 30 last year, with "office facilities" the highest figure on the balance sheet.

Mr Macfarlane claimed $21,151 in domestic airfares, and no overseas or charter flight expenses.

The majority of the "office consumables and services" total of $6702 was spent on flags which cost more than $5200.

Mr Scott announced his intention to retire from Federal politics in August 2015, closing off a 25-year run in public office.

He was succeeded by David Littleproud at the 2016 federal election.

Mr Macfarlane likewise retired last year, succeeded by former Toowoomba South MP John McVeigh.

Neither Mr Littleproud nor Mr McVeigh's parliamentary expenses have been released.


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