Health and Sport Minister Sussan Ley
Health and Sport Minister Sussan Ley

Sussan Ley spends $11,000 flying with hubby to watch cricket

FEDERAL MP Sussan Ley has defended racking up a bill of more than $11,000 flying across the country to watch the cricket with her husband.

On New Year's Day last year Ms Ley drove with her husband from Albury to Melbourne - billing the taxpayer $430.36 for the car used during the trip.

They then flew from Melbourne to Sydney and then on to Perth - which cost a tidy total of $5264.38.

However on the way, the Minister for Sport and Health stopped off in Sydney to host an afternoon tea for the Australian and West Indies cricket teams at the Prime Minister's residence, Kirribilli House.

To get there they took a ComCar, which cost the taxpayer $323.57.

Ms Ley's office declined to explain the large bill. ComCar's cost $78.60 an hour and the trip from Kirribilli house to the airport normally takes about half an hour.

Once in Perth to attend a Big Bash match at the WACA, Ms Ley charged the taxpayer a total of $964 for two nights of accommodation, justifying the charges as "official business" when they were declared.

The couple then spent nine days in Western Australia before returning to Perth, this time to watch a One Day International and claiming another $964 for two further nights of accommodation.

They then flew back to Ms Ley's home-base of Albury, in southern New South Wales, which cost $4588.28.

"All travel undertaken by Minister Ley for Ministerial purposes and travel undertaken by her spouse, was done so within entitlements," a spokeswoman for Ms Ley said.

In total the Commonwealth forked out $11,570.49 for the trip.

Ms Ley came under additional scrutiny over her travel claims this week when a Freedom of Information request by the Herald Sun revealed she had spent about $12,000 on a charter flight to attend a Pharmacy Guild conference.

"Before Minister Ley departed Canberra, she was required to attend another ministerial portfolio commitment that morning which had been called at short notice," a spokeswoman told the Herald Sun.

"This meant any commercial flights out of Canberra on that day would have had Minister Ley arrive into Coolangatta after her scheduled commitment with the Pharmacy Guild was due to start."

Again in that case the spokeswoman said the claims were within the rules.