Federal politician entitlements: Mike Kelly's claims ‘no more than necessary’

MP: Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly. Photo: Jay Cronan

MP: Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly. Photo: Jay Cronan

When Mike Kelly was Member for Eden-Monaro in 2013, he was given over $470,000 of taxpayer-funded entitlements in six months.  

This total includes expenditure for January 1 to June 30 of the year, as well as some earlier payments. 

The Bega District News recently reported on how the electorate’s former Liberal MP Peter Hendy had claimed $206,000 during the lead-up to an election period in the first six months of 2016. 

Labor politician Dr Kelly was ousted as MP by Dr Hendy in the 2013 election on September 7, but regained the seat last year. 

In January 2013, Dr Kelly spent $29,500 on a trip to the US to represent the government during the open debate on United Nations Peacekeeping in the UN Security Council where he signed the UN Arms Treaty on behalf of Australia.

Throughout the six month period he claimed over $12,000 on domestic flights, mostly between Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. 

He received $10,500 for several charter journeys, including $1800 for a return trip from Canberra to Merimbula that April.  

Dr Kelly spent about $9000 for private-plated vehicles, $11,000 on COMCAR and $6500 on a travelling allowance over 18 nights, including four trips to Bega. 

But a large bulk of payments – nearly $250,000 – was made for office fit-outs before and after January. 

On Friday, Dr Kelly said entitlements were given to MPs to conduct their business as elected representatives, but the public reacted poorly to reports of MPs using these entitlements when buying investment properties or attending parties.

“I exercise the greatest care not to incur any greater expense than is necessary to do my job,” he said.

He said the $250,000 for office fit-out was “out of my hands” and conducted by the Department of Finance for a new electorate office in Queanbeyan.

Dr Kelly said the change of office was necessary because he was evicted from his former office in a building that was sold and redeveloped into a retail store. 

He said when Dr Hendy took over the offices in Queanbeyan and Bega he made no alterations other than signage. 

“I have since re-occupied the same offices, again with no further modifications required except for signage,” Dr Kelly said. 

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