TASMANIAN federal parliamentarians have backed calls for entitlements reform after a number admitted making repayments from incorrect claims.
Parliamentarian entitlements have come under renewed scrutiny after three Coalition members, including Prime Minister Tony Abbott, were forced to repay hundreds of dollars in taxpayer-funded entitlements that they claimed to attend weddings.
Finance Department records reveal interesting claims by elected MHRs and Senators, including flags, books, cameras and telephone "hold music".
Liberal Senator David Bushby admitted using entitlements to attend a wedding in Perth in April 2009, but was adamant the primary purpose of the trip was to attend a parliamentary committee meeting on fuel and energy.
A spokeswoman for Senator Bushby said as it was primarily a parliamentary business trip, he didn't consider it inappropriate to claim taxpayer funds for costs incurred.
Former Lyons MHR Dick Adams said weddings should not attract claims as they were clearly social events unless "it was a royal wedding or you were representing the government".
Mr Adams, who racked up a $107,000 bill for international travel during 2011 and 2012, said it was "one of the best things an MP could do as it gives you a broader picture".
Greens leader Christine Milne has pledged to bring on a bill to create an integrity commissioner job for providing independent overseeing as soon as Parliament returns.
Yesterday a spokesman confirmed Senator Milne had never claimed - nor thought it it appropriate to claim - parliamentary entitlements to attend weddings.
"But as Senator Milne has said, the problem here is not that errors are made, it is that there is a culture that allows MPs to think it is OK to claim entitlements to attend weddings and then with no independent oversight, only paying it back when they are held to account," the spokesman said. Senators and members were eager to say that repayments didn't tell the full story, with confused legalese often clouding their understanding of how and what to claim.
Highlighting challenges with the system, Senator Helen Polley was once asked to repay about $5 for a drink during on a parliamentary delegation. She said her rule of thumb was "if in doubt, don't claim".
Former Senator Guy Barnett admitted repaying around $800 but said he couldn't remember what it was for. Senator Bushby also repaid $213.50 after taking the Spirit of Tasmania on a trip instead of flying.