Federal MP and former ophthalmologist, Andrew Laming, has been caught charging the taxpayer more than $21,000 in 2017 for himself plus his wife and two young daughters accompanying him on business-class flights crisscrossing from Kununurra to Brisbane via Perth as well as accommodation and hire cars, The Australian newspaper has reported..
The expenditure is within the rules for MPs.
Mr Laming was the Abbott opposition’s spokesman for regional health services and indigenous health but has not held a front-bench position since 2013.
He claims to have visited Kununurra for NAIDOC Week to meet indigenous leaders, and health educators and social-service providers, as well as to attend an indigenous literacy launch and discuss the trial of a cashless welfare card in the East Kimberley community, which is 3,600km from his seat of Bowman in Brisbane’s east.
The Australian said Mr Laming declined to comment when asked why it was necessary for his wife and two daughters (by now aged nine and five) to join him on the trip.
However, he blamed an unforeseen cancellation of a flight from Kununurra to Darwin an alternative rerouting through Perth for much of the cost.