Barnaby Joyce says spending more than $4600 of taxpayer’s money to attend rugby league matches is OK because he was conducting official business.
The agriculture minister was handed free tickets for the 2012 State of Origin and NRL finals in corporate boxes, Fairfax Media reports this morning.
It says he claimed $4615 from taxpayer money for flights, Comcars and overnight “travel allowance”.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said he is open to potential changes to MP’s entitlement system.
It comes after an expenses scandal that has dragged on for five weeks.
Mr Joyce’s spokeswoman, however, says the “official business” was carried out during that time, and that it was a legitimate claim.
“Mr Joyce was invited to these events as an official guest,” the spokeswoman told Fairfax.
“On 13 June 2012 as an official guest of Westpac Bank and on September 14 and 30 as an official guest of the Australian Rugby League Commission.
“Mr Joyce was invited to these events due to his position as a shadow minister. Such gatherings are viewed as opportunities for business and community leaders to meet and discuss policy issues with members of Parliament.”