Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott spent more in domestic travel than the previous three prime ministers before him. Photo: Alex EllinghausenFormer prime minister Tony Abbott spent more on travel last year than his three predecessors combined.
Mr Abbott claimed almost $74,000 in domestic flights in 2016 for “official business” as a former prime minister, almost $30,000 more than Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and John Howard together spent over the same time period.
A spokesperson told News Corp Mr Abbott tried to accept as many invitations as he could, to aid in the re-election of conservative colleagues and to spend time in indigenous communities and regional .
Mr Abbott’s parliamentary expenses show he spent just over nine weeks travelling across last year, with all trips outside parliamentary sitting weeks listed as “former prime minister – official business”.
He also claimed nearly $25,000 in travel expenses for trips that included visits to regional communities like Yass, Forbes, Mackay and Dubbo, as well as almost weekly visits to Melbourne for two months in May and June last year.
Julia Gillard spent $17,315.13 in flights last year, while Kevin Rudd, who spends most of his time overseas, claimed $2169.39. John Howard’s domestic travel cost taxpayers $26,080.29.
Mr Abbott, who has been critical of the government under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, faced censure from his colleagues late last week, after admitting he missed key votes in the 2009 parliament after passing out in his office following a night drinking with colleagues.
Speaking to Annabel Crabb for an upcoming episode of the ABC series, The House, which focuses on life inside parliament, Mr Abbott admitted a dinner with colleagues got out of hand, and he was unable to be roused to vote on key measures of the then-Rudd government’s GFC stimulus package.
“I was sober in the morning,” he told 2UE radio on Saturday.
“But our country is still dealing with the debt and debt hangover of the former Labor government’s spending binge.”
“That’s what we should be focused on, not the fact that Peter Costello, Kevin Andrews and I had three or four bottles of wine over dinner.”
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