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Changes Coming To MP Expenses Rules

Extra scrutiny placed on MPs

Changes Coming To MP Expenses Rules

IMAGE - Getty Images

Federal politicians will have to show value for money and face tougher checks on their taxpayer-funded travel under new laws to be introduced to parliament later this week.

The draft laws will put in place a clear definition of "parliamentary business", new obligations around spending and define a "dominant purpose test".

The test would ensure MPs will only be able to claim expenses when the dominant purpose of their journey was to undertake parliamentary business.

It will be backed up by a new Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority, which will have the power to make rulings on whether a parliamentarian's travel satisfies the new rules.

"The Turnbull government is committed to the most comprehensive reforms to parliamentarians' work expenses in a generation," Special Minister of State Scott Ryan said on Tuesday.

Senator Ryan said MPs would still be able to attend party fundraising events, which landed former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop in hot water over the Choppergate scandal.

"If I happen to be in Sydney for a meeting of a committee or parliamentary work or ministerial work, if I did something in the afternoon that could be described as party political I don't think that would be a particular issue as long as the dominant purpose actually was parliamentary business," Senator Ryan told Sky News.

The new authority will publish travel reports on a quarterly basis but could eventually release information monthly once a new computer system is in place.

While it would make binding rulings, it would not approve every MP trip.

"I don't think it's feasible, for people that might take 50 or 60 flights a year, for every single trip to be approved," Senator Ryan said.

But the extra public scrutiny would make MPs more careful.

- AAP

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