Greens and Labor MPs including Sarah Hanson-Young and Penny Wong billed taxpayers thousands of dollars to fly to Sydney for the Mardi Gras
- Greens MP Senator Hanson-Young charged Australians more than $1,700
- Adam Bandt and his wife Claudia Perkins invoiced almost $3,000 in flights
- Labor MP Penny Wong also amassed more $2,000 in flight costs from Adelaide
Labor and Greens MPs billed taxpayers thousands of dollars to fly to Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade and get driven around by chauffeurs.
Greens MP senator Sarah Hanson-Young charged Australians more than $1,700 for her trip from Canberra to Sydney for the festival in February.
Expenses included $1,300 for two nights’ accommodation, $290 for flights from Canberra and $126 for a private car and driver, the Herald Sun reported.
Greens leader Adam Bandt and his wife Claudia Perkins were also invoiced almost $3,000 in flights alone from Sydney to Melbourne, according to the publication.
Adam Bandt, leader of the Australian Greens Party taking part in the 42nd annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney on February 29
Labor MP Penny Wong (centre left) takes part in the 40th annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in Sydney in 2018
While the pair did not charge taxpayers for accommodation, the public were billed a further $80 for a chauffeur.
Labor MP Penny Wong also claimed more than $2,000 on flights from Adelaide, $280 worth of car trips and $453 for accommodation.
Ms Wong and Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles, who billed Australians for a portion of his one-night stay in the city, said the pair marched in the parade to show support for the LGBTIQ community.
Mr Bandt said his attendance at the parade was as important as the Prime Minister expensing a trip to an ANZAC Day service.
Greens MP Sarah Hanson-Young takes part in the 2015 Mardi Gras festival in Sydney
The parade at the 42nd anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade in Sydney in 2020
A spokesman for Mr Bandt told the publication that being at Mardi Gras was a gesture of support.
‘Being at Mardi Gras is not only a powerful gesture of unity and support for the queer community, but an invaluable opportunity to meet with Australia’s LGBTIQ+ family to ensure their needs are met,’ he said.
MPs are allowed to claim work-related travel within Australia, which includes the cost of flights, cars and accommodation.
The claims have to represent value for money for the taxpayers.
More than 300,000 revellers flock to the annual festival on Oxford Street each year. Pictured: a woman celebrating with men dressed as lifeguards
Under ‘family reunion’ benefits, partners and dependents are allowed to join them on some domestic trips.
It was not the first time Labor and Greens MPs attended the celebrations.
Photos show Ms Hanson-Young at the festival in 2015 and Ms Wong in 2018.
More than 300,000 revellers flock to the annual festival on Oxford Street each year.
The 2020 festival represented the LGBTQI community’s 42nd celebration.