MP bills taxpayers $13k for virtual meet, China articles
DAWSON MP George Christensen billed $13,000 to taxpayers for a virtual community meeting and hundreds more dollars for Chinese reading materials.
The independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority has published federal politician expenses for the period April 1 to June 30.
Mr Christensen's expenses report showed he charged Dawson taxpayers $13,440 for a virtual town hall under the "telephonic services" section.
Taxpayers also picked up the tab for more than $500 in reading materials about China.
Some titles of these publications included: Death by China: Confronting the Dragon - A Global Call to Action, What's Wrong with China, and Trump Vs China.
Mr Christensen charged taxpayers for 17 different publications related to China.
The maverick MP has ramped up his criticism of the country since the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Christensen launched his China Inquiry website in May, which was set up to allow people to have their say on China issues.
Mr Christensen said virtual town halls offered the ability for constituents to engage directly with their MPs during the unprecedented circumstances of dealing with the COVID pandemic.
"This was conducted during the early stages of the pandemic and constituents could ask questions directly of both myself and the Deputy Prime Minister," he said.
"There was a very strong take-up of the call and it went for over an hour.
"Regarding other publications, information on China is particularly relevant to my role as chair of the Trade and Investment Growth committee and its current inquiry focusing on diversifying our trade relationships rather than having an over-dependence on China."
The Parliament of Australia website says Federal MPs must act ethically and in good faith in using and accounting for their use of public resources for conducting their parliamentary business.
MPs are only allowed to claim expenses incurred during parliamentary business.
They must ensure that expenses incurred, or allowances or resources claimed, provide value for money.