Matty Horan explained on Twitter:
@margokingston1 p2 Daily Tele 15 March 97. Minchin repaid $3150 for travel allowance wrongly claimed during 96 election. Avail on newstext.
— Matt Horan (@mattyhoran) January 11, 2013
Former Senator Nick Minchin was forced to repay $3,150 in travel allowances after admitting he breached a parliamentary convention during the election campaign in 1996.
The convention says that ministers and shadow ministers are not allowed to claim travel allowance after their party leader’s policy speech until the election.
Here are the press stories at the time:
Minchin kept in cheque – The Daily Telegraph
SAT 15 March 1997, Page 9
THE Prime Minister’s Parliamentary secretary Nick Minchin wrote a cheque for $3150 yesterday to refund money he wrongly claimed during the last election.
His gesture follows revelations in The Daily Telegraph yesterday that he had broken a “convention” restricting expenses claimed by shadow ministers.
The Department of Administrative Services had written to shadow ministers and Mr Howard reminding them no expenses could be claimed after the party leader’s policy speech.
But Senator Minchin claimed for every night from John Howard’s speech on February 18 to the night after the March 2 vote.
Senator Minchin said he had thought he was entitled to claim for his role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition.
All people make mistakes whether deliberate or not. The then new “Minchin Protocol” allowed MPs who claim too much for minor expenses (such as cab fares) can repay the excess and all is forgiven.
Parliamentary secretary Bob Woods retired from politics when he was under police investigation for travel rorts.
Senator Ian Macdonald offered to repay an almost $1500 travel allowance after being caught in breach of a Parliamentary convention.
Three ministers – John Sharp, David Jull and Peter McGauran – were forced to resign as a result of travel rorts involving false claims, mismanagement or cover-ups.
There are more cases of course, but none of them had been referred to the Australian Federal Police.
From the Protocol:
• When an allegation of or other event which suggests misuse of entitlement occurs, the Department undertakes an internal investigation to ascertain whether the allegations are credible (rather than being only malicious or vexatious).
• If the matter is relatively minor, the Member or Senator will be invited to provide an explanation to the Department.
The questions remain: Why did they make such an exception in Slipper’s case? Why is there a double standard?
Read more at Independent Australia