Chloe Shorten's $11,000 in flights as Bill used RAAF jet

Bill and Chloe Shorten in the entrance to Parliament House. Photo: AAP
Bill and Chloe Shorten in the entrance to Parliament House. Photo: AAP

THE taxpayer will foot a bill of more than $11,000 to fly Labor leader Bill Shorten's wife around the country during last year's federal election.

The expenses claims in question involved 13 flights Chloe Shorten took at a time when the Commonwealth was already paying for her husband to be flown around the country in a 737 Boeing Business Jet supplied by the Royal Australian Air Force.

Over 24 days between when PM Malcolm Turnbull filed the writs for the federal election and the Liberal Party Campaign launch (May 9 until July 2) Mrs Shorten claimed 13 flights - with some costing almost $2000.

During the same period Lucy Turnbull claimed just one flight - a trip from Perth to Sydney for which she slugged the taxpayer a hefty $1,988.40.

Mr Shorten's office refused to comment on the expenses on the record other than to say the claims were within the rules.

Bill and Chloe Shorten in Morayfield, Queensland. The cost of this trip is yet to be declared. Photo: AAP.
Bill and Chloe Shorten in Morayfield, Queensland. The cost of this trip is yet to be declared. Photo: AAP.

The additional flights made it possible for Mrs Shorten to return to Melbourne to be with the couple's school-age children.

The flights formed part of a $54,196.02 bill incurred by the Shortens under the various family travel benefits available to the Opposition Leader.

Other large components included $8,830 on ComCars for Mrs Shorten, including a $576.40 journey in Melbourne on April 21 this year.

ComCars charge $78.60 an hour.

By comparison Mrs Turnbull cost taxpayers $12,034.16 over the same period.

Under the guidelines which govern federal MP's expenses they are able to claim travel expenses for their family to accompany them on official business. 

The claims are capped at the cost of a business class airfare on the most direct route but there is no limit on the number of flights that can be claimed.

There is no requirement that the politicians' spouse have any involvement in official business, however, the family member must arrive at the destination in question within 24 hours of the politician.

And they can't leave more than 24 hours after they go.

However under the Parliamentary Entitlements Act, the spouses of Federal Ministers or of an opposition office holder is entitled to travel anywhere in Australia for official purposes at Australian Government expense.

Flights taken by Chloe Shorten while Bill had a publicly funded jet

1.       14 May 16 - Brisbane to Melbourne $991.59

2.       19 May 16 - Melbourne to Sydney $698.76

3.       28 May 16 - Melbourne to Sydney $698.76 *

4.       29 May 16 - Sydney to Canberra $121.30 *

5.       30 May 16 - Canberra to Melbourne $686.29

6.       31 May 16 - Melbourne to Brisbane $1,094.38

7.       1 Jun 16 - Sydney to Melbourne $780.82

8.       2 Jun 16 - Melbourne to Adelaide $693.69 *

9.       3 Jun 16 - Adelaide to Melbourne $693.69 *

10.   9 Jun 16 - Brisbane to Sydney $698.67

11.   14 Jun 16 - Melbourne to Perth $1,946.75

12.   15 Jun 16 - Perth to Melbourne $1,786.14

13.   18 Jun 16 - Melbourne to Sydney $698.76

Topics:  editors picks expenses federal election federal politicians flights

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