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Sussan Ley resigns from frontbench over $7000 flights

Ms Ley pictured in Rockhampton while she was serving as the federal health minister.
Ms Ley pictured in Rockhampton while she was serving as the federal health minister. Chris Ison ROK270715chealth1

HEALTH minister Sussan Ley has given notice of her intention to resign today following her excessive spending of taxpayer dollars.

It was revealed this week Ms Ley spent almost $7000 on two flights between capital cities and attended a wedding on the Gold Coast and bought an apartment during taxpayer funded trips.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced in a press conference on Friday Ms Ley planned to resign, and he said it was the right decision.

"She has made a judgment that is, I believe, in the interests of the government and she has made an appropriate judgment and I do want to say that I thank her for her service over many years," he said.

Mr Turnbull said he wouldn't go into the scandal any further and just said the minister had made a decision.
"The important thing now is to ensure that for the future Australians are absolutely reassured that parliamentary expenses are - which are work expenses after all - are appropriately spent by parliamentarians," he said.

Ms Ley has decided to resign after it was exposed she was billing taxpayers for expensive flights and to attend personal events.
On Friday Mr Turnbull also announced a new management plan for parliamentarians' work expenses.

He said the government would create an independent body to review the spending of parliamentarians to ensure taxpayer funds are spend appropriately and in compliance with government rules.

Fairfax Media reported on Friday Ms Ley justified her expensive private flights, which she took in 2014 and 2015.

Ms Ley's spokesman claimed she had booked commercial flights but last minute circumstances meant she couldn't board them.

She claims in July 2014, when she was the Assistant Minister for Education, the Productivity Commission made a late decision to launch a report into childcare, preventing her from catching her flight from Canberra to Melbourne.

She had a commitment in Melbourne to open the National Association of Mobile Child Care Services conference and she claims the only way she could get there in time was if she took a $6300 chartered flight.

"In order to ensure both important ministerial commitments were met, the most time-efficient and cost-effective direct form of transport available between the two cities at that time of day was organised within official rules," the spokesman told Fairfax.

In regards to the flight in 2015, which coast almost $7000, Ms Ley claims a late request from the Prime Minister meant she couldn't board her already booked commercial flight from Canberra to Adelaide.

Topics:  editors picks malcolm turnbull sussan ley

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