Oh dear. During my previous ranting it seems that I may have been mistaken about Her Royal Highness Bronwyn Bishop. Allow me to elucidate.

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The Mirabella knees up. Photo: Rebecca Hallas

I have previously ranted about Tony Abbott billing us $1,000 for attending the 2006 wedding of his parliamentary colleague, Sophie Mirabella, held in Albury on the NSW-Victorian border. His defense at the time was that as he was Grand Poobah for Opposition Miscellany in Bovine Excrement or some other such grand title, the invitation was surely meant for the holder of that exalted position, not to Sophie’s mate, Tony Abbott. And indeed, don’t we all send wedding invitations to impersonal offices around the nation? The better half and I had fully intended to invite the Upper Knowsley Director of Canine Excremental Removal, aka the Poopa Scoopa, to our nuptials. Sadly for whomsoever that Director may have been, our wedded bliss was not to be and they missed out on a knees up. As it was, once this became an issue in 2013, Abbott repaid the money. Apparently the Department of Finance declined to advise Abbott on whether this was official business or not. I suspect they classified it under Should Have Been Bleedin’ Obvious It Wasn’t.

While ranting against Abbott, at the time I pointed out that even Queen Bronny had the brains to make sure she was in town on official business at the time of the wedding and thus was able to legitimately bill us for that trip.

But was she?

Last Friday Fairfax Media ‘broke’ the story that Queen Bronny had billed us $600 for that trip. Unfortunately for Fairfax, that was in fact old news. But due to a bit more investigation, today Fairfax were able to add considerably more to the story.

Unlike Abbott, Queen Bronny has flatly refused to repay the funds for that trip by insisting she was on official business but declining to reveal just what that business actually was. However a spokesman for HRH has now apparently informed Fairfax that she was on “official committee chair business” on that trip. And it also transpires that the same explanation was formally provided in official documents lodged in Queen Bronny’s handwriting. So just what was this chair business?

In 2006 it turns out that the only committee that HRH was chair of was the standing committee on family and human services. But it also turns out that at no time in 2006 did that committee have any official meetings or hearings in Albury. Did Queen Bronny somehow go to the wrong city? Somehow I doubt she is that stupid.

The body which initially implements rules governing the entitlements of MPs is the Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal. And the former Secretary of that Tribunal, Betty Collins, has stated that MPs, which would include Queen Bronny, may only claim travel for committee business when it is official, organised and documented meetings. And all the apparent evidence is that there was no such thing happening in Albury.

The usual defense, including Queen Bronny’s defense to the helicopter chartering, is that it was a mistake. But was it a mistake for Queen Bronny to keep insisting that she was on official committee chair business in a city that had not had any such business there that year? Was it a mistake that Queen Bronny lodged that bill for $600 claiming she was in Albury on that seemingly mythical business? Was it a mistake that the claim was part of a lodgement made in Queen Bronny’s own handwriting?

Wood Duck - photo credit Ross Hamilton

Wood Duck – photo credit Ross Hamilton

There is an old saying: if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. And in this case, we have a bloody big Wood Duck waddling around and leaving a big trail of duck crap all over everything.

With all the evidence that has now been uncovered regarding this matter, rather than Queen Bronny having the smarts to make sure she was already going to be in Albury on official business, it seems that she has lied her regal arse off. And telling lies to make financial gain is generally considered fraud. And defrauding something like Commonwealth funded expenses is a federal crime. So why isn’t the Australian Federal Police already investigating. They cannot fall back on any excuse that it is in the hands of the Department of Finance as Queen Bronny’s chief apologist, Tony Abbott, has stated that it was “something that has been quite properly looked at by the Department of Finance.” Note the past tense – it has already been looked at by Finance under its Liberal-friendly Secretary.

How in the hell can Tony Abbott continue to let Bronwyn Bishop sit her fat fraudulent arse on the Speaker’s chair?

UPDATE: Since I began drafting this rant, a new article appeared in the media some 50 minutes ago. Now Queen Bronny is claiming she was in fact in Albury to attend ‘secret meetings.’ What was this? Why is it only now that we are given this Secret Business excuse? And how is that she is still unable to provide the slightest detail on these secret meetings? Unfortunately for Queen Bronny to be claiming expenses, the rules apparently dictate that there has to be at least three persons present from the Committee. So far there has been deathly silence on who the requisite other two were.

Again if it looks like a duck…

 

Comments
  1. […] Posted: July 28, 2015 in Ranting Tags: Australian Federal Police, fraud, Bronwyn Bishop, australian federal politics, Speaker 0 […]

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