2 Aug 2015

Resignation after Australian travel expense row

7:06 pm on 2 August 2015

In Australia Bronwyn Bishop has resigned as Speaker of the House of Representatives following sustained pressure over her travel expenses.

Bronwyn Bishop

Bronwyn Bishop Photo: AAP / Mick Tsikas

"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," Mrs Bishop said in a statement.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Sydney the Government would hold a "root and branch review" of the entitlements system.

Mrs Bishop had faced fierce criticism for more than three weeks, since it was first revealed she had spent more than $5000 chartering a helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong in November to attend a Liberal Party fundraiser.

She has paid back the money - plus a 25 percent penalty - and last week apologised for the "ridiculous" chopper ride expense claim.

The long-serving senior Liberal also promised to refund taxpayers for claims she had filed to attend colleagues' weddings, but said she would not resign as Speaker, insisting all her travel has been taken within entitlements.

The Finance Department is currently investigating Mrs Bishop's use of charter flights and other entitlement claims over the past decade.

Yesterday she declined to comment on reports she claimed $6000 for last year chartering a plane to fly her 160 kilometres from Sydney to Nowra.

The growing scandal over the Speaker's travel entitlement claims had prompted the Opposition to call for her to resign her position and crossbench MPs Andrew Wilkie and Clive Palmer to announce they would move a motion of no-confidence in her when Parliament resumed on August 10.

Public outrage over Mrs Bishop's spending raised the ire of senior Liberal MPs with some last week telling the ABC her role as a Speaker was "untenable" and calling her actions "unconscionable".