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Julie Bishop under fire for charging taxpayers almost $3000 to attend polo

Is this just the tip of the iceberg?

By Lorna Gray

The furore surrounding Health Minister Sussan Ley’s taxpayer-funded trips to the Gold Coast is not dying down. In fact, it’s spreading like wildfire as more senior politicians are called into question over their taxpayer-funded spending.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop attended a polo event in Melbourne at a cost of almost $3,000 to taxpayers. She says it was part of “official” business.

Ms Bishop spent $2177 on flights to Melbourne, $416 for a car and $123 on travel allowances to attend the Potsea Polo as a guest of Peroni and Jeep in January 2016, the ABC reports.

"The Minister was invited and attended in her official capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party," Ms Bishop's office said in a statement to ABC.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has also come under fire for charging the taxpayer $3,533 for he and his wife's airfares to attend the AFL Grand Final three years ago.

However, he’s also defended the costs, saying he had "official commitments before, during and after the weekend".

It seems to be a grey area when politicians are travelling for official business. Shouldn’t they be allowed to enjoy themselves afterwards?

There are now calls for an independent watchdog to oversee entitlements with many believing this could be the tip of the iceberg.

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