After holding out for almost three weeks, the Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced this afternoon that Bronwyn Bishop MP has resigned as Speaker of the House.
Over the past few weeks, Ms Bishop was under increasing pressure over her use of public funds for chartered flights, helicopters and chauffer driven cars. She initially refused to apologise for this expenditure, saying that her expense claims were “within entitlement”, including flights to two of her colleagues’ weddings.
Ms Bishop said in a statement: “I have not taken this decision lightly, however it is because of my love and respect for the institution of Parliament and the Australian people that I have resigned as Speaker.”
On Thursday she apologised for her spending in relation to her “ridiculuous” use of a helicopter to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser.
The Prime Minister told reporters, “Regrettably, notwithstanding reforms [enacted by the government] … there are still too many situations in which members of parliament can make claims that are inside entitlements but outside of public expectations.” Tony Abbott has also instituted a review of Parliamentary entitlements.
The Finance Department is investigating Ms Bishop’s expense claims over the past decade. She did not comment yesterday on claims that she had spent $6000 on a charter jet to fly from Nowra to Sydney (a two hour drive).
Andrew Wilkie MP and Clive Palmer MP had previously said that they would move a motion of no confidence in the Speaker when Parliament returns on 10 August.
Read more on the Bishop travel expenses saga: