Junket probe call after LNP’s $27k taxpayer-funded jaunt

THE Palaszczuk Government has demanded an independent probe into a controversial $27,000 Sydney sojourn taken by Opposition MPs, including leaders Deb Frecklington and Tim Mander.

The Courier-Mail can reveal Labor caucus secretary Don Brown has asked the Clerk of Parliament to clarify whether the 2018 trip meets the requirements for taxpayer-funded travel for MPs and their partners.

A Right to Information request by Labor has unearthed documents showing the LNP effectively invited itself to the get-together of National Party state MPs after Gold Coast backbencher Ray Stevens circulated an invitation on behalf of the little-known Council of State Parliamentarians.

On top of the $23,000 chalked up in general travel allocation for the nine MPs and partners, the document shows $3500 was charged to the Opposition budget for flights and accommodation for Ms Frecklington, husband Jason, and Mr Mander.

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington and Deputy Leader Tim Mander. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington and Deputy Leader Tim Mander. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Gosling

They show the Ministerial Services Branch, which oversees expense claims, approved the trip but later queried an $11 charge on the LNP Leader's bill to meet her request for a king-size bed at the plush Sofitel Wentworth hotel.

The Courier-Mail revealed the high-priced gathering last year, including details of how the four-day event began with an "optional sign-on day", followed by a day that only included a cocktail party.

The final day's agenda only involved a breakfast, however seven LNP members didn't fly home until the next day.

In his letter to Clerk of Parliament Neil Laurie, Mr Brown questioned how a letter from one LNP MP to another could amount to a "formal invitation".

"My initial reading of the provision, and certainly what appears to be the spirit of the requirement, is that the invitation must have been formally issued by the person or organisation hosting the event," he said.

Mr Brown said if the invitation was deemed insufficient, there should be an investigation. But Ms Frecklington's spokesman dismissed the call for an investigation as muckraking.

"This has already been examined at length, it was fully declared and within the rules," he said.