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Bishop referred to federal police

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Labor has referred Speaker Bronwyn Bishop to the Australian Federal Police over allegations she used parliamentary expenses for a $5000 helicopter flight.

Opposition finance and business spokesman Tony Burke described Bishop’s flight from Melbourne to Geelong as “the born to rule mentality gone mad”.

Labor’s waste watch spokesman Pat Conroy, on Friday, wrote to the AFP, seeking an investigation into whether Ms Bishop made a false statement when she signed a Finance Department form stating the charter was claimed for “official business.”

Knowingly making a false statement is a criminal offence.

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Ms Bishop has offered to pay back more than $5000, plus a 25 per cent loading, claimed for the 100km flight to attend a Liberal Party function last year.

But speaking to reporters today, Mr Burke said Ms Bishop could not remain as Speaker if she had committed a criminal act.

“If this form has been signed in a way that provides false information, than there are criminal consequences that apply,” Mr Burke said.

“The fact that they won’t release the document says it all.

“Who on earth catches a helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong?”

Labor has referred the allegations to the Australian Federal Police to investigate.

Meanwhile, independent senator Nick Xenophon said he wants to see a new watchdog set up to oversee parliamentary expenses and will introduce amendments when parliament resumes in three weeks.

Changes to the act could include an independent assessor of MP and senator entitlements and a requirement for politicians to pay back double the amount instead of 25 per cent extra if they make a mistaken claim.

The public will also be able to lodge complaints under the senator’s proposal.

“Unless you change the system of political entitlements politicians will continue to be the most hated occupation in this country,” Senator Xenophon said.

“Let’s have an independent umpire for parliamentary entitlements.

“Members of the public have a right to make a complaint.”

Senator Xenophon is also calling for federal MPs and senators to fly economy class for domestic flights or flights under two hours.

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