Bronwyn Bishop admits taking too long to say sorry
BRONWYN Bishop has admitted she should have said sorry after news of the choppergate scandal broke but maintains she will not resign as Speaker.
The senior LNP figure has sparked a prolonged and damaging furore over her use of taxpayer-funded political entitlements, after it was revealed that she spent $5,227 on a charter helicopter to travel a short distance from Melbourne to Geelong for a political fundraiser.
Questions have also been raised about expenses claims Mrs Bishop made to attend the weddings of two Liberal colleagues.
Her office says the travel has been taken within entitlements, but today she would repay all of the money she has spent attending weddings even though it was within the rules.
"I've been listening to what the Australian people are saying … there's no excuse for what I did with the helicopter," Mrs Bishop said.
"I'll be repaying all expenses related to weddings, which while technically in the rules just doesn't look right.
"I know I've disappointed and let down the Australian people," the Speaker said.
"I want to apologise to the Australian people for my error of judgment and to say sorry," she told Sydney radio station 2GB's Alan Jones today.
The apology, which took three weeks to produce, is a big change of tune for Mrs Bishop who had initially described the issue as a 'beat-up'.
When asked by Alan Jones whether it was a mistake not to have said sorry straight away, she admitted it was.
"Yes it was, I should have said it then, I wish I had," she said.
Do you accept Bronwyn Bishop's apology? Do you think she should resign as Speaker? Join our daily watercooler conversation by leaving your comments below and voting in our network wide poll.
Do you accept Bronwyn Bishop's apology?
This poll ended on 06 August 2015.
Yes. And it's time to move on
No. She is still not resigning
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Palmer and Wilkie plan no confidence motion
Sunshine Coast MP Clive Palmer and Independent Andrew Wilkie are planning to move a no-confidence motion in Mrs Bishop when Parliament resumes.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has called on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to sack Mrs Bishop as Speaker, saying she had damaged the standing of Parliament.
But Mr Shorten would not categorically say he would support a no-confidence motion against the Speaker, saying he doubted she would be in the position when Parliament resumes next month.
Both sides of politics have been under fire over their failure to bring MPs expenses under control.
Mr Abbott was asked about former Speaker Peter Slipper's huge travel bills years ago.
His response was that they appeared to be within guidelines.
This was despite revelations that Mr Slipper was spending hundreds of thousands on travel, including expensive cab trips to Brisbane and in Sydney and Canberra.