A stoush has erupted between the South Australian Government and Opposition over who spent more on two different trips to Shanghai.
In May last year, while premier, Jay Weatherill spent four days in China on a trip that coincided with Port Adelaide Football Club’s game there.
He declared expenses of just over $26,000 for himself and two ministerial staffers on the trip, but today, Labor has come out swinging — criticising the Liberal Government for its expenditure on a similar trip.
It says Premier Steven Marshall and a staffer spent almost $28,000 dollars on a trip to Shanghai in May this year, including $3,000 on taxis and limousines, more than $3,500 for a banquet and paying for a hotel room for the Premier to ‘refresh’ in between getting off a plane and going to a function.
“There are no details to justify these costs and expenses overseas and I think it’s pretty poor form for the Premier to be telling South Australians that he’ll be far thriftier when it comes to overseas travel, and when he travels for the first time, racking up such expensive bills,” Shadow Treasurer Stephen Mullighan said.
“Labor’s always supported promoting our state internationally, but if you compare this trip that Steven Marshall has taken only a few weeks ago, against the trip the former Premier Jay Weatherill took to the same place, you can see how the costs compare.”
But the Government has accused Labor of using misleading figures, saying the Premier and his staffer spent just $18,500, with the rest going on departmental staff expenses, and business people who attended the banquet.
It says if similar figures are added in to Mr Weatherill’s trip, the total cost exceeds $55,000.
Former Travel Minister Leon Bignell repaid money spent on an Adelaide hotel stay. (ABC News: Angelique Donnellan)
Travel expenditure has been a sore point in South Australian politics for some time, with the former Labor tourism minister Leon Bignell getting into hot water over some of his trips.
In 2016, he was forced to repay a bill for the Intercontinental Hotel, where he stayed the night before the Christmas Pageant.
He also received criticism for buying a $100 bottle of Argentinian wine on a trip to Glasgow, and for taking an almost $2,000 trip to Melbourne for the 2015 AFL Grand Final.