Michael McCormack and his wife took an RAAF jet costing taxpayers $4,600 an hour before watching the Melbourne Cup alongside celebrities including Australia’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart. The deputy prime minister watched the event in November from Tabcorp’s VIP marquee after the gambling giant offered him free tickets.
Source: The Guardian and Daily Mail
Deputy prime minister took an RAAF special purpose jet – costing taxpayers $4,600 an HOUR – before partying with celebs in the VIP tent at the Melbourne Cup
To get to Melbourne, he and his wife Catherine took an RAAF special purpose jet, according to The Guardian which obtained emails from local councillors about the trip.
Michael McCormack and his wife Catherine (pictured at the Melbourne Cup) took an RAAF jet costing taxpayers $4,600 an hour before watching the race
The RAAF has two Boeing 737-700s which are used by senior government officials for domestic and international travel, each costing an estimated $4,600 an hour to run.
The couple landed in Melbourne on Sunday before Mr McCormack made an announcement about a community sports grant on Monday.
They watched the race on Tuesday and flew home on Wednesday, also billing the taxpayer for their return flights.
The announcement was to promote a $4million federal government grant for Stonnington City Council to build a new sports centre.
The money was announced three years ago by local federal MP Kelly O’Dwyer – but the centre has still not been built due to legal issues.
Local councillor Sally Davis told The Guardian the announcement was unnecessary.
The RAAF has two Boeing 737-700s (pictured at Wagga Wagga airport) which are used by senior government officials for domestic and international travel, costing an estimated $4,600 an hour to run
She said: ‘This is quite extraordinary. Kelly O’Dwyer announced/promoted this $4m election promise three years ago, so what is the rationale behind this repeat announcement?’
Under parliamentary rules, MPs can only claim travel expenses if their main purpose of travel is for work.
The expenses must provide ‘value for money’ and MPs must be ‘able to publicly defend’ them.
A spokesman for Mr McCormack said the trip was within the rules.
‘The deputy prime minister travels in accordance with the guidelines set by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA).
‘[The IPEA] has confirmed the deputy prime minister’s parliamentary and ministerial work in Melbourne, where he was acting prime minister from 3 to 5 November 2019, accompanied by Mrs McCormack, adheres to the guidelines.’