Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Once more Speaker Bishop demonstrates her lack of boundaries

Bronwyn Bishop has been hosting Liberal Party fundraisers in her Parliament House Speaker’s suite, a move that has raised further questions about her role as an impartial adjudicator.
A spokesman for Ms Bishop said there was nothing illegal or improper about the practice, and no official rules appear to exist. But no recent Speakers interviewed by Fairfax Media had used their office for party fundraising.
Asked about a recent fundraising event held in the Speaker's Parliament House suite, Ms Bishop’s spokesman said: "From time to time the Speaker holds private functions in Parliament House as does a large number of members and senators... the cost is charged to her private account.”
"There is nothing illegal about it, there is nothing improper about it,” he added.
"It’s the use of a room that every other Member of Parliament does often. Are you chasing up all the other people that held fundraisers at Parliament House?”
Recent Labor Speakers Anna Burke and Harry Jenkins said they had never used their Parliament House office for party fundraising events.
“The Speaker’s office is representative of the Parliament,” Ms Burke said.
“The Parliament is not owned by the government of the day, it’s owned by the people. And it would be highly inappropriate for the people’s house to be used as a fundraising arm of a political party.”
The House of Representatives clerk would not comment on whether it was proper for the Speaker to be using her office for fundraising. He referred questions to Ms Bishop’s office.....

The Daily Telegraph 23 May 2014:

About 20 Liberal donors were charged $2,500 a plate at the intimate dinner, which was briefly attended by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, The Sunday Telegraph understands.
Mrs Bishop’s office said it had not breached any electoral laws and all food and drink consumed was charged to her private account to be paid for by the Liberal Party.
Her large parliamentary suite includes a formal dining room that opens on to a parliamentary courtyard. As Speaker, she also collects a taxpayer funded salary of $341,477 a year…..
Mrs Bishop’s fundraiser was one of many events held on budget night by the Coalition and Labor, including a $500-a-head function for hundreds of Liberal donors in the Great Hall.....

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