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Expense reforms fail to include extra oversight measures

FEDERAL politicians will remain in control of their taxpayer-funded expense claims, despite changes to the parliamentary entitlement system announced on Sunday.

The changes will include a 25% penalty fee for politicians caught incorrectly claiming taxpayer funds, as well as a "name and shame" clause.

Special Minister of State Michael Ronaldson announced the changes on Sunday, after some media reports on the issue on Saturday.

He told ABC the new system would help parliamentarians play by the rules and maintain public confidence in the system.

But the changes, which were sparked by an ongoing expenses scandal in the new government, will not provide any additional oversight of politicians' expenses.

Federal MPs will continue to self-regulate the claims, with the Department of Finance approving them, despite the self-regulation not preventing a raft of incorrect claims in recent years.

The changes will also allow Mr Ronaldson, or his successor, to name any politicians in parliament who refuse to cooperate with Finance Department investigations.

Reforms have come after media reports that politicians across the spectrum were claiming questionable events, such as weddings, as "official business".

Those reports sparked a series of MPs paying back the department for their incorrect claims.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Saturday the changes will help to restore public confidence in the system, but would not be drawn on why he reforms did not go further.

Topics:  expenses tony abbott



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