Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott Peter Holt

Abbott hints at tougher travel rules after Bishop row

BRONWYN Bishop's Melbourne to Geelong helicopter flight may lead to MPs' travel entitlements being overhauled, Tony Abbott has hinted.

The Prime Minister suggested yesterday that a review might alter the existing scheme, which he said his government had already improved.

His comments came a day after the Speaker of the House, Mrs Bishop, apologised for using taxpayer money to pay for a helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong for a Liberal Party fundraiser.

Mr Abbott told Radio 2SM politicians should learn they could not get away with exploiting the entitlements system.

"She's repaid the money with penalties, she is obviously deeply remorseful," Mr Abbott said on the Sydney station.

"If there's one lesson that every single politician must have had reinforced by all of this, it is that you cannot get away with exploiting the rules."

Mr Abbott said the claiming of first-class flights by politicians had been banned and he and his family had flown to Europe in 2013 in economy.

"That's what the people do and that's what we certainly did when we were travelling privately," he said.

Mr Abbott said while the travel system had been restricted, a review could mean further changes.

"We banned politicians travelling overseas first class, we have heavily limited family travel inside Australia and overseas, and we have banned immediate family employment - and as you know there were quite a few members of Parliament who were employing spouses, children etc in their offices and that is all now being stopped," he said.

"So, a lot has happened and let's see what else might emerge out of the review."

Labor leader Bill Shorten said Ms Bishop's apology had not been sincere.

"There has been no contrition by Mr Abbott or Mrs Bishop, no understanding of what they've done," Mr Shorten said.

"You just get the sense that they've tossed this apology in to stop, you know, the inevitable demand that Mrs Bishop just step down."


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