Foreign Minister Julie Bishop charged taxpayers $2716 to attend the Portsea Polo for “official ministerial business”.
The revelation comes as pressure mounts on Health Minister Sussan Ley over her travels at the expense of taxpayers, which have sparked calls for reform to the entitlement system.
Ms Bishop was invited to the January 9, 2016 event on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula as a guest of Peroni and Jeep.
She was pictured at the event in an exclusive marquee hosted by Mercedes Benz where her fellow guests included models, socialites and former prime minister Tony Abbott’s daughter Frances.
A Department of Finance report shows Ms Bishop spent $2177 on flights to Melbourne for the event, $416 on a car and claimed a $123 travel allowance.
In response to questions from the ABC, her office issued a short statement.
“The Minister was invited and attended in her official capacity as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party,” it read.
Ministers are allowed to claim for travel relating to their office, but the Ministerial Standards prohibit travel for private purposes.
“Ministers must be scrupulous in ensuring the legitimacy and accuracy of any claim for entitlement to ministerial, parliamentary or travel allowance,” they read.
“Although [ministers’] public lives encroach upon their private lives, it is critical that Ministers do not use public office for private purposes.”
Ministers charge for AFL Grand Final trip
It has also been revealed that two federal government ministers and a Tasmanian senator have charged taxpayers more than $2500 for a trip to the AFL Grand Final in 2013.
The men were guests of the National Australia Bank and received complimentary tickets and hospitality.
One of the ministers, Senator Mathias Cormann, is in charge of the department that oversees politicians’ entitlements.
He billed taxpayers $3533 for he and his wife’s airfares to attend the match.
In a statement his office said he had “official commitments before, during and after the AFL Grand Final weekend”.
“As well as portfolio related meetings on Friday, the Minister had Melbourne based media commitments both on Saturday and Sunday morning as well as a series of other portfolio related commitments in Melbourne,” the statement said.
Trade Minister Steve Ciobo charged taxpayers $1102 for an airfare to the match.
His office has not responded to a request for comment.
Tasmanian senator David Bushby billed for $863 of flights from Hobart to Melbourne and back again. The ABC has contacted him for comment.
Senator Mitch Fifield also attended the grand final as a guest of the National Australia Bank but did not charge taxpayers for any travel. He lives in Victoria.