Leaked text reveals lavish party plans

A leaked text message from the deputy prime minister’s adviser shows him admitting to the trip, the Courier-Mail reported on Wednesday.

A partyroom meeting has been scheduled to coincide with the National’s 100th anniversary dinner at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne on March 13.

Rogue Nationals MP Llew O’Brien has already said a partyroom meeting was organised to occur at the same time at last year’s Melbourne Cup, which would have seen taxpayers charged for MPs travel costs.

Mr McCormack has said advice had been sought from the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority to ensure taxpayers weren’t billed.

Mr O’Brien pointed to the Melbourne Cup trip as one of the reasons he quit the Nationals on Sunday.

“I wasn’t comfortable with that and I raised it with both the leadership and the partyroom,” he told The Australian on Tuesday.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said he didn’t know anything about the Melbourne function, but it was the job of the expense authority to investigate the matter.

“I expect it to be done without any political interference, or any political commentary,” Senator Birmingham told Nine on Wednesday.

Mr O’Brien remains a member of the LNP and was made deputy speaker of the lower house after Labor nominated him for the role.


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