Federal Liberal MP John Alexander charged taxpayers $357 so he could drive to his eight-bedroom country retreat and stay there overnight to avoid Canberra leadership tensions.
John Alexander charged taxpayers to stay at his own country retreat on August 23, 2018
The backbench member for Bennelong and former tennis star was apparently so upset at Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton undermining Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership in August last year he wanted to flee the national capital.
Facing his second leadership challenge in just three days, Mr Turnbull demanded 43 signatures on a petition to allow a new party leadership vote to proceed.
Liberal MPs were unsure if they would be needed in Canberra the next day, a Friday, which wasn’t a sitting day of Parliament.
The member for Bennelong charged taxpayers $91 as a ‘parliamentary duties’ to stay at his eight-bedroom retreat (pictured) at Kangaroo Valley so he could avoid Canberra
On the night of August 23 last year, Mr Alexander drove to his eight-bedroom Kangaroo Valley mansion retreat on the New South Wales South Coast hinterland, 200km away from Canberra.
The Sydney-based MP charged taxpayers $91 to stay in his eight-bedroom, five bathroom Iona Park estate on a Thursday night, Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority data showed.
The former tennis star and Seven Network sports commentator claimed this expense as a non-commercial ‘parliamentary duty’ allowance in the same week he was trying to sell a 1996 Bentley Azure convertible.
On August 23 last year, he also claimed $133 to drive in a private vehicle from Canberra to Moss Vale on the NSW Southern Highlands, which is connected to the Kangaroo Valley via Nowra Road.
Mr Alexander stayed at his Kangaroo Valley mansion (pictured) on August 23 last year as Liberal MPs waited to learn if they would be needed in Canberra on the next day
Mr Alexander claimed his Kangaroo Valley property (pictured) expense as a non-commercial ‘parliamentary duty’ allowance in the same week he was trying to sell a Bentley convertible
The following day, on August 24 last year, he claimed another $133 to drive from Moss Vale to Canberra.
His $91 overnight stay, and $266 in vehicle allowances added up to $357.
Taxpayers would have shelled out $285 in travel allowance if Mr Alexander had chosen to stay in a Canberra hotel instead of his own property.
A spokesman for Mr Alexander confirmed he had charged taxpayers to stay at his Kangaroo Valley property.
‘These claims were specifically checked with the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority before being submitted,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Tuesday.
Mr Alexander’s Iona Park estate (pictured) is being rented out on Airbnb for $1,428 a night and it features eight bedrooms, five bathrooms and enough room for 16 guests
After leaving this retreat, Mr Alexander attended a Liberal Party room meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, where Scott Morrison (right) defeated Peter Dutton (left) 45 votes to 40.
‘They were submitted in accordance with the guidance that was received, therefore they are legitimate expenses.’
Mr Alexander’s Iona Park estate is being rented out on Airbnb for $1,428 a night and it features eight bedrooms, five bathrooms and enough room for 16 guests.
After leaving this luxurious retreat with a pool, Mr Alexander attended a Liberal Party room meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, where Scott Morrison defeated Peter Dutton 45 votes to 40.
Mr Alexander’s moderate faction of the Liberal Party abandoned its former deputy Julie Bishop, leaving her with just 11 votes in the 85-member party room meeting.
They threw their support behind Mr Morrison, who is aligned to the centre-right faction, in a bid to stop Mr Dutton, from the hard-right, becoming prime minister.
Mr Alexander’s claimed $357 from taxpayers to stay at his own property and drive there, the day before Malcolm Turnbull (right with wife Lucy, daughter Daisy) finished up as PM
A spokesman for Mr Alexander confirmed he had charged taxpayers to stay at his Kangaroo Valley property
Mr Alexander claimed $266 from taxpayers for the cost of driving to his Kangaroo Valley property to and from Canberra