Australia

Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi says $200,000 salary is 'not a lot of money'

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Lucy Gichuhi has told a Kenyan television program that her annual $200,000 salary is "not a lot of money".

Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi has told a Kenyan TV program that her $200,000 Australian salary was "not a lot of money", as questions swirled about her use of taxpayer money.

The Kenya-born politician, who appeared on Jeff Koinange Live in January this year, also said “Australian politicians work so hard, 24/7” and that nobody could compensate them enough for the work they do. 

But under questioning, the South Australian senator said her salary was "reasonable".

“Yes, my salary it is somewhere on the website, I don't look at it because it comes into the bank, but it's not a lot of money by the way,” she said on the program.

The video comes as Senator Gichuhi faces questions over her taxpayer-funded expenses, with records showing she paid for the flights of some family members.

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Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi says $200,000 salary is 'not a lot of money
Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi says $200,000 salary is 'not a lot of money

Parliamentary travel records show Senator Gichuhi billed taxpayers $12,000 for five trips to Sydney for "electorate business", despite her electorate being South Australia, News Corp reports.

Politicians are allowed generous travel entitlements and they are allowed to claim some family travel too, up to three return fares each year.

Senator Lucy Gichuhi has defected to Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal Party.
Senator Lucy Gichuhi with Malcolm Turnbull.
Twitter/Malcolm Turnbull

But the travel must only be claimed for family members if the politician is travelling for “parliamentary business”.

Over the weekend, Senator Gichuhi agreed to pay back $2,139 she claimed in taxpayer-funded travel for two relatives attending her birthday party in Adelaide last year.

She tweeted on Sunday in regards to questions raised about her travel expenses, saying the whole incident was “an administrative error.”

The Liberal senator has been tough on welfare payments, telling the ABC in 2017 that "the trouble with handouts is they create victims and nobody wins".

"And it's a bottomless pit ... and then, given we are in an ageing community and very soon we're going to have few people working and a lot of people to support, is it sustainable?" she told the ABC

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