Former federal speaker Bronwyn Bishop won’t be criminally investigated over the controversial helicopter ride that cost her job.
In a letter to Labor MP Pat Conroy, the Australian Federal Police ruled out criminal charges on two allegations related to Mrs Bishop’s $5200 helicopter ride to attend a Liberal fundraiser.
AFP deputy commissioner of operations Ian McCartney said after consultations with the Department of Finance, police had “not identified any evidence to support allegations of criminality”.
“As such the AFP will not be commencing an investigation and will take no further action,” he wrote.
The letter, dated September 22, dismissed Mr Conroy’s allegation Mrs Bishop misled the Commonwealth by signing a declaration saying she had travelled on the charter flight for official purposes.
Mr Conroy also alleged Mrs Bishop’s relationship with My Jet Aviation, through her chief of staff, influenced her decision to choose the charter.
The former speaker eventually apologised for the expensive ride but later resigned from her post.
She maintained she acted within the rules and was discussing official business at the event.
But she and then-prime minister Tony Abbott conceded the helicopter journey was an error of judgment.
However, the Australian Federal Police say it will investigate Mrs Bishop’s actions should the Department of Finance make a referral.
The AFP have previously relied on the Minchin Protocol, which requires allegations of misuse of parliamentary entitlements to be first investigated by the department, to dismiss allegations.
However in July, Mr Conroy used the infamous case of former speaker Peter Slipper to argue against the need to follow the protocol.
Allegations of misuse of funds against Mr Slipper were directly referred to the AFP, which investigated and charged the former MP.
He was convicted for misusing $900 of cab charges, before the conviction was thrown out by the ACT Supreme Court.
The Greens have called for legislation forcing politicians to publish their taxpayer-funded parliamentary travel entitlements, something Greens senator Lee Rhiannon did on Thursday.