TONY Burke has emerged as one of the government’s biggest groupies, charging taxpayers to travel to a Robbie Williams concert last year as well as taking his children to a Justin Bieber concert in 2011. And it gets worse.
The manager of opposition business, who headed the prosecution against Bronwyn Bishop, claimed he had to meet with the promoter of the Williams concert as part of his official business as an opposition MP.
Mr Burke received free tickets from leading concert promoter Michael Chugg for the concert in Sydney on September 28 last year.
He travelled in a Comcar for a meeting prior to the concert, which he charged back to taxpayers because the meeting was work related.
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The Bieber tickets were provided by the NRMA and he did not charge the taxpayer for travel.
The Labor frontbencher has also accepted tickets to the Byron Bay Blues festival.
Mr Burke’s entitlements have come under scrutiny after The Daily Telegraph revealed he charged taxpayers business class fares for his family to join him at Uluru in 2012 while he was environment minister.
The shadow finance spokesman legally claimed the entitlement under the family reunion scheme and flew his family up during the school holidays.
Mr Burke’s office yesterday confirmed the shadow finance minister had used a Comcar to meet Mr Chugg, who promoted the Williams concert, prior to the concert starting. It is understood the fare was about $90.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie yesterday slammed Mr Burke’s entitlement claims and said a full review needed to be conducted of all MPs.
“There seems to be a widespread practice of parliamentarians travelling at the public expense, often with family members, even though any reasonable person would identify their journey as being principally for personal reasons,’’ he said.
“Tony Burke taking his family to Uluru is a case in point because no reasonable member of the community would feel that the cost of such a journey should be borne by
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten defended Mr Burke, saying the government was attempting to smear Labor MPs to divert attention away from Mrs Bishop.
He said Mr Burke did not have questions to answer about the Uluru trip.
“Mr Burke has clarified this matter,’’ he said.
“Of course they (the government) start throwing some dirt at a Labor politician. The fact of the matter is that what Mrs Bishop did was so far and away egregious that even her own colleagues couldn’t put their fingers over their nose to remove the smell of this issue.”