LNP defends $15k, four star Coast retreat for MPs
THE Liberal National Party has defended spending more than $15,000 worth of taxpayer's funds on a four-star retreat for its state MPs.
The retreat which was held at the Twin Waters Novotel Resort on the Sunshine Coast took place over two nights from February 2-4 last year.
Expenses claims for $540 for meals and accommodation were filed by 29 Queensland MPs - including some who reside in Brisbane - about an hour and a half drive south of the Coast.
In total the claims came to $15,660.
A spokeswoman for the LNP defended the claims saying they were well within the rules which govern Queensland MP's entitlements.
She added the event was used to discuss a number of key policies.
"The development of Opposition policies to present to Queensland voters as alternatives to the current government is part of a well-functioning democracy," the spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman said one of the policy areas discussed was the LNP's "integrity policy."
Other policy discussions included formulating a position on four year terms for the Queensland State Parliament - which was passed by way of a referendum on April 4, 2016.
The spokeswoman also said the Party discussed formulating a policy on child sex abuse, one issue it is understood was on the table was the creation of a child sex offender's register - however no such policy has since been announced.
Other issues discussed were crocodile management, sugar marketing arrangements, biosecurity, vegetation management, land tenure and employment.
Under the laws governing politician's expenses, in Queensland, MPs are able to claim a maximum of $270 a day for meals and accommodation.
This includes making claims for activities which are party business, not parliamentary business.
The spokeswoman said the entire shadow ministry also attended the retreat however not all of them filed expenses claims.
At a federal level, in the wake of Bronwyn Bishop's "Chopper-gate" scandal a review into parliamentarian's entitlements recommended clarifying the rules so expenses incurred while on party related business would not be paid by the taxpayer.
These reforms are yet to become law at a federal level and Queensland has not held any recent, significant review of parliamentarian's entitlements.
The MPs Who Claimed
1. Verity Barton
2. Ros Bates
3. Stephen Bennett
4. Mark Boothman
5. Jason Costigan
6. Michael Crandon
7. Andrew Cripps
8. Tracy Davis
9. Scott Emerson
10. Deb Frecklington
11. Michael Hart
12. Jon Krause
13. John-Paul Langbroek
14. Dale Last
15. Ann Leahy
16. Tim Mander
17. Lachlan Millar
18. Steve Minnikin
19. Rob Molhoek
20. Tony Perrett
21. Andrew Powell
22. Ian Rickuss
23. Mark Robinson
24. Christian Rowan
25. Jeff Seeney
26. Ray Stevens
27. Jann Stuckey
28. Trevor Watts
29. Pat Weir