SWAN MHR Steve Irons has refused to answer questions about using taxpayer money for trips to Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
Revelations have surfaced that Mr Irons charged taxpayers $1132.88 for a flight to Melbourne on October 28, 2011 for Victoria Derby Day just days after getting married at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
He charged taxpayers $1346.14 for the flight to Melbourne for the wedding on October 18 before again charging taxpayers $911.80 for flights back to Perth on October 25.
It has been reported that Mr Irons paid back the money for the wedding trip after a self-audit in 2013.
Mr Irons also charged taxpayers $1875.14 for flights to Brisbane and $258 for a three-night stay at the Gold Coast to explore golf tourism opportunities in December 2015.
The Southern Gazette asked Mr Irons a series of specific questions about the three incidents but only received the comment: “The travel in question was all within the guidelines set out for MPs.”
ECU political analyst Harry Phillips said Mr Irons’ standing had been “clouded” by the revelations.
“He’s been able to hold his seat quite well in the past but now he is in a marginal seat,” he said.
“He’s had an impression of a self-made man and that’s kept him in good stead but these matters on expenses are something no parliamentarian wants.”
Dr Phillips said the issue would be on the agenda for the next election and it could make it difficult for him to be re-elected.
“It’s not something that will mean he will fall out of office. It’s not like the Bronwyn Bishop saga but it’s a niggly issue,” he said.
“When it comes to the legality of what he’s done it becomes difficult to judge but there’s at least a small section of voters who might think it’s too close to the borderline.”
Among the questions asked of Mr Irons were:
· Why did you claim the trips as electorate business?
· It’s been said that the travel is “within the guidelines set out of for MPs” but do you believe it is morally right?
· Do you believe these revelations have hurt your reputation among voters in the Swan electorate?
· Do you believe you have to explain your actions to voters in the Swan electorate?
· Will you be more cautious in using taxpayers’ money for your travels in the future?