David Littleproud and Prime Minister Scott Morrison board a plane.
Nationals deputy leader David Litteproud claimed $22,000 in expenses for a series of 2018 flights. (AAP Image/Fairfax Media Pool, Alex Ellinghausen)

Social media posts about MP’s travel expenses come up short

Jacob Shteyman May 20, 2022

Nationals MP David Littleproud claimed $22,000 in expenses for an 84km trip between Warwick and Toowoomba in Queensland.


False. The expenses claim covered six separate trips across regional Queensland and NSW and a total travel distance of around 4000km.

Social media posts have resurrected long-running claims that taxpayers were billed $22,000 for Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud to travel just 84km between Warwick and Toowoomba in Queensland.

While the posts cite the correct figure for an expenses claim Mr Littleproud made in 2018, it misrepresents the amount of travel undertaken – which in fact covered approximately 4000km across multiple flights.

The claim that the trip covered only 84km was posted on Twitter as early as December 2018. A screenshot of the same tweet was shared in a Facebook post on May 17, 2022 (see screenshot here).

Its text reads: “With $14,000 you can pay for a round-the-world cruise ticket. With $15,000 you can pay for a round-the-world first-class airfare. With $22,003 you can pay for (David Littleproud’s) expenses claim for travelling from Warwick to Toowoomba on June 4. A distance of 84kms.”

However, parliamentary expenditure documents show that the $22,003 expenses claim covered six flights between June 4 and June 6, 2018. The information is accessible in the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority’s (IPEA) dataset for July 1 to September 31, 2018. The six trips are categorised as unscheduled transport for “official duties” and are listed together as trip sequence 5195.

As well as taking the Warwick to Toowoomba trip referred to in the posts, Mr Littleproud, who was then minister for agriculture and water resources, also travelled from Toowoomba to Dubbo in NSW, then on to Blackall, Charleville and Boulia in rural Queensland. The trip ended at Archerfield Airport in southern Brisbane, according to the expenses database.

All together, the six-leg trip featured a travel distance of approximately 4000km, based on AAP FactCheck calculations using Google Maps.

The $22,003 figure is recorded alongside only the first leg of the trip from Warwick to Toowoomba in the dataset, however the IPEA’s explanatory notes state that when a trip has multiple legs of travel, “the cost of the whole trip may be reported against the first leg of travel”.

In a series of tweets in 2018, Mr Littleproud explained that “Warwick to Toowoomba was just the first leg” but the $22,000 total was for the entire 4000km journey including multiple stops.

He said the purpose of the trip was to visit communities in outback Queensland and NSW that were “struggling because of the drought”, adding that then minister for regional development John McVeigh was also on board.

At 729,897sq km, Mr Littleproud’s electorate of Maranoa is one of Australia’s largest, covering around 40 per cent of Queensland.

The Verdict

The claim that David Littleproud spent $22,000 travelling 84 km between Warwick and Toowoomba is false. Parliamentary expenses records show the $22,000 claim was for a 4000km, six-leg trip that included visits to Toowoomba, Dubbo, Blackall, Charleville and Boulia.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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