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Ministers In Hot Water Over Eagles 2015 AFL Grand Final Trip

Federal ministers Julie Bishop and Mathias Cormann have defended charging taxpayers thousands of dollars for travel and accommodation to attend the AFL grand final in Melbourne last year.

Parliamentary entitlements records show Ms Bishop claimed travel allowance the night before and after the Hawthorn versus West Coast game at a cost of $438 each night and more than $500 in chauffeur-driven ComCar expenses.

Senator Cormann claimed $438 in travel allowance the night before the grand final, while his flight from Canberra cost $654 and his wife's return flight from Perth cost almost $3600.

Ms Bishop, a former Eagles board member, said the AFL invited her to the game.

"I was in Melbourne for a range of official visits and business over a period of about seven days," she told ABC radio on Thursday.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the AFL are partners in sports development in the Pacific and I intend to continue to be a strong supporter of the AFL in our joint endeavours to use sport as a means of developing young people in the Pacific.

"I think it is appropriate that the AFL be able to invite elected representatives to what is in the AFL's eyes the most important sporting event each year."

A spokeswoman for Senator Cormann said he had a "full program of official commitments" in Melbourne before, during and after the grand final weekend, which included attending the game.

"Given those work-related commitments away from his family in Perth over an extended period of more than three weeks, the minister connected with his wife in Melbourne over that weekend, consistent with the rules in relation to family travel for all federal members of parliament," she said.


Picture credit: Philip Gostelow, Getty

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