Former Speaker Peter Slipper.
Former Speaker Peter Slipper. Warren Lynam

Detailed documents reveal Slipper's extraordinary spending

THE release in 2010 of more detailed information about parliamentarians' use of entitlements first threw real light on the extraordinary level of spending by the Member for Fisher.

But by then Mr Slipper already had a long history of his interpretation of his entitlements not matching the guidelines he has repeatedly claimed he followed.

While parliamentary secretary to the minister for finance in 2003 he was required to refund $7785.67. At the time he was also parliamentary secretary to then prime minister John Howard.

In 2007 he was again found to be outside the entitlement and was required to repay another $2889. In total he has been required to repay more than $14,000 in wrongly claimed entitlements.

However it was parliament's commitment to deliver greater transparency on MPs' spending habits that led to the release in mid 2010 of a more detailed account including amounts claimed for family travel, MPs' own spending for air travel, taxi, private vehicle and ComCar use, office and printing expenses and amounts spent on magazines and publications.

The detail revealed Mr Slipper had spent $6000 in 15 days on taxis between July and early August while parliament was not sitting and when there were no meetings of either of the two committees on which the backbencher then sat.

Despite invitations to explain the parliamentary or electoral business that led to the expenses being incurred, Mr Slipper would only say his spending was within the entitlement guidelines.

In 2011 a petition sponsored by the Daily and signed by 2700 residents calling for a full audit of Mr Slipper's expense claims and for him to explain the reason they were incurred, was presented to parliament by Member for Fairfax Alex Somlyay.

It also sought that any audit be overseen by the National Audit Office to assist with recommendations that might produce expenditure guidelines in line with community expectations and that provisions be tightened.

Department of Finance documents show Mr Slipper has claimed more than $1.8m in office and other entitlements since 2007.

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