Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during a press conference in Sydney, Australia, Jan. 13, 2017. Australia will model their parliamentary entitlements reform on Britain following a payments scandal that has claimed a senior leader. Embattled Health Minister Sussan Ley resigned from her position Friday after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered an investigation into her travel claims. (Xinhua/Zhu Hongye)
SYDNEY, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Australia will model their parliamentary entitlements reform on Britain following a payments scandal that has claimed a senior leader.
Embattled Health Minister Sussan Ley resigned from her position Friday after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered an investigation into her travel claims.
Ley had been fighting calls for her resignation after media reports she had purchased an investment property from a Liberal Party donor while on one of many Australian taxpayer funded trips to the tourist haven Gold Coast.
Turnbull announced Australia would implement a new disclosure scheme similar to that of Britain where there is near-real time disclosure of MPs "expenses" to ensure "transparency and accountability."
"We should be as politicians ... as careful and as accountable with taxpayers money as we possibly can be. We are dealing with other people's money," Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Friday.
Britain in 2010 implemented widespread reforms into its disclosure laws following numerous resignations and sackings over the widespread misuse of allowances and expenses by members of parliament. The scandal resulted in several former members of the House of Commons being prosecuted and jailed.
Australia too has had numerous scandals involving both major parties, resulting in resignations, though none has yet been prosecuted for fraud.
Australia instead has undertaken a series of reviews of the parliamentary entitlement system, the latest after former Speaker of the House Bronwyn Bishop resigned after charging tax payers for an 80 kilometer chartered helicopter flight from Melbourne to Geelong for a Liberal Party function in 2015. Only three measures of the some 36 that were recommended in the reviews have been implemented.
The new body will be governed by an independent board to include a former MP, a former judicial office and an experienced auditor, while providing advice to current members of parliament.
Disclosures will be updated monthly - rather than half-yearly - in an "easily accessible form" after the current "antiquated" I.T. system is updated, Turnbull said, adding it will be modelled on the British system.
Questions remain, however, over the Australian government's ability to implement technological change following "serious and obvious" oversights in the implantation of the country's online Census in August.