Tony Burke quietly goes back to claiming flights for wife

Tony Burke has quietly gone back to claiming flights for his family on the taxpayer purse.
Tony Burke has quietly gone back to claiming flights for his family on the taxpayer purse.

IN THE months following his national pasting for abusing family travel benefits - including flying his wife and kids to Uluru  - Labor's chief lower house strategist Tony Burke ceased flying his family around on taxpayer coin.

Mr Burke's expenses claim for July to December 2015 shows he didn't claim any flights, or accommodation during the period where he led the attack against former speaker Bronwyn Bishop - before national opinion turned against him when his own heavy use of entitlements was exposed. 

However, Mr Burke's latest expenses declaration shows just six months later Mrs Burke was back on the planes and dipping into the public purse.

Once the dust had settled on the Choppergate scandal, which resulted in Ms Bishop stepping aside as speaker and ultimately contributed to her political demise, Mr Burke quietly went back to claiming family travel - albeit in a more modest form.

"In 2015 Mr Burke made a commitment that he would not use the budgets that were allocated to Members of Parliament for flights for his children," a spokeswoman for Mr Burke said.  

"There's been no exception from that commitment. From time to time his wife joins him in Canberra during Parliamentary sittings." 

In the six months between January 1 and June 20, 2016 Mr Burke claimed 12 flights for his wife between Sydney and Canberra. 

It takes about three hours to drive between the two. 

The total cost of all the flights was a relatively meagre $1999.87. The most expensive flight cost $526.99 with the cheapest $103.74. 

Federal MPs are entitled to claim family reunion flights so their families can be with them when they travel away to sit in Parliament. 

There is no suggestion Mr Burke has broken the rules. 

His office has been contacted for comment. 

Tony's family travel flight claims, January to July 2016

Feb 2 - Sydney to Canberra $103.74 

Feb 4 - Canberra to Sydney $103.74 

Mar 3 - Canberra to Sydney $103.74 

Mar 14 - Sydney to Canberra $103.74

Mar 17 - Sydney to Canberra $158.34 

Mar 18 - Canberra to Sydney $328.20 

Apr 20 - Canberra to Sydney $103.74 

May 1 - Sydney to Canberra $103.74 

Jun 7 - Sydney to Canberra $121.30

Jun 8 - Canberra to Sydney $121.30 

Jun 14 - Sydney to Canberra $121.30

Topics:  benefit canberra editors picks expenses sydney tony burke

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