High travel expenses proof of hard work, says MP
MEMBER for Morayfield Darren Grimwade says he works harder than "any of the other MPs" in Queensland.
Mr Grimwade made the claim while defending spending more on travel in the first half of this year than any other south-east Queensland backbencher, saying the higher travel expenses were a sign he was doing more.
Mr Grimwade claimed $8854 of his General Travel Allocation on airfares, car hire, taxis and his Daily Travel Allowance, outstripping the claims of all but a handful of MPs based in outback Queensland.
Many outback MPs can claim an extra allowance for flights and alternate travel, which Mr Grimwade is not entitled to. Ministers are also eligible for extra allowances.
It follows on from a busy second half of 2013 for the Morayfield MP, who spent $17,238 on travel - again more than any other south-east Queensland backbencher.
"I think if anything it shows you that I'm probably working harder than any of the other MPs," he said.
"It does show people that I am working hard to get the state back on track and to grow the economy and to get jobs for Queenslanders and that's evidenced by the amount of work that I'm doing."
Mr Grimwade also pointed to his role on the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee (THLGC) as a big contributor to his travel claims, saying he had dipped into his own pocket on many occasions to pay for part of work-based trips.
Fellow THLGC member and Palmer United Party State Leader for Queensland Carl Judge claimed just $416 against his travel allowances last financial year.
Both he and Mr Grimwade attended a conference in Perth on committee business but the committee paid for Mr Judge's travel as his attendance was compulsory.
He said travel allowance claims weren't an indicator of how hard an MP was working but Mr Grimwade was justified in claiming the $4340 trip to attend public hearings for an inquiry into rail freight.
"Going out and attending fetes and kissing babies and hugging trees is not a hardworking MP. (But) a hardworking MP certainly goes about research, goes about having a very informed consultation on bills," he said.
"I would suggest that Darren Grimwade is one of the better members of the LNP Government.
"There's no gain in me saying that. He's one of the best of a bad lot."
THLGC chair Member for Warrego Howard Hobbs claimed slightly less than $30,000 against his General Travel Allocation in the first half of this year and claimed a similar amount to Mr Grimwade in the second half of 2013.
Mr Grimwade also claimed $3045 for overnight stays in Brisbane in the first half of this year.
Greater Caboolture area MPs' travel allowance claims
Member for Murrumba Reg Gulley: $2289
Member for Pumicestone Lisa France (Assistant Minister): $0
Member for Glass House Andrew Powell (Minister): $0