Eric Abetz bills taxpayers $3000 to attend mining industry gala

August 1, 2018

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz billed taxpayers $3000 for domestic return flights from Hobart to Melbourne and a series of Comcars so he and a family member could attend the Australian Mines and Metals Association centenary celebrations, according to Guardian Australia.

Senator Abetz, who has no ministerial connection to mining or industrial relations, said he attended because mining was important to the state of Tasmania and his constituents, and the event was particularly relevant because a Tasmanian company was a founding member of the AMMA. The rules for claiming travel expenses are that claims can only be made where the dominant purpose of the trip is parliamentary business. According to Guardian Australia, the senator flew into Melbourne on the day of the gala dinner, stayed overnight, and left the following day.

Senator Abetz said he was serving the interests of his electorate by attending the gala dinner, described as the “industry’s biggest celebration of 2018”. The event featured performances from the Australian Qantas Children’s Choir and soprano Marina Prior. Former prime minister John Howard gave a headline speech. “Mining is a considerable export for Tasmania. It’s an important part of our economy, stacks of people are employed by it.”

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