Federal Liberal MP Don Randall is continuing to defend his use of parliamentary entitlements, despite recently repaying more than $5,000.
Mr Randall, who represents the West Australian electorate of Canning, spent more than $5,000 travelling to Cairns with his wife last year on what he said was “electorate business”.
A week later, he disclosed that he had taken possession of an investment property in the far north Queensland city.
In his first interview since the story broke, Mr Randall told the Armadale Examiner that he has been avoiding the media because reporters were looking for a “gotcha moment”.
He told the Examiner he went to Cairns in his capacity as shadow parliamentary secretary for local government to speak to then opposition whip Warren Entsch.
Neither MP will say what was discussed.
Mr Randall also defended another taxpayer-funded trip to Melbourne for what he said was “sittings of parliament”.
He said he stopped off in Melbourne on his way to Canberra while his wife flew home to Perth.
Mr Randall told the Examiner he has never fallen foul of over-spending, but acknowledged the controversy surrounding MP entitlements could lead to an overhaul of the system.
He is one of a number of MPs, including Prime Minster Tony Abbott, who have recently paid back entitlement claims, including allowances used to attend the weddings of colleagues.