#BronwynBishop finally let’s go. My toon Herald Sun pic.twitter.com/6QKunTnKhn
— Mark Knight (@Knightcartoons) August 3, 2015
Bronwyn Bishop, the Speaker of Australia’s parliament, resigned on Sunday over her lavish expenses and Twitter users have seen off Madam Speaker with a hashtag and pictures of their wallets # PutyourWalletsOut after she announced her resignation on Sunday following weeks of criticism over expenses claims that had threatened to derail the government.
#PutYourWalletsOut EXPLAINED: When I ran outside to snap a picture of my wallet… Source: https://t.co/0FKJasIQk1 pic.twitter.com/NMnixaSRWT
— Steve Lopez (@slopezAU) August 3, 2015
Bronwyn Bishop, the Speaker of Australia’s parliament and political mentor of Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, resigned on Sunday in disgrace following weeks of accusations that she used taxpayer money to pay for extravagant travel arrangements.
It emerged last month that she spent £2,500 to charter a helicopter for a 50-mile trip to a party fundraiser.
Dubbed the “Choppergate” scandal caused political damage to Mr Abbott, who stood by Mrs Bishop even as senior government figures urged her to resign.
Announcing Mrs Bishop’s resignation, Mr Abbott did not criticise his “friend and colleague” and instead blamed the system of parliamentary entitlements.
Abbott has subsequently ordered a comprehensive review of the system of entitlements for MPs, which has reportedly been subject to abuse.
A social media trend has been created in ‘memory’ of Bronwyn Bishop #PutYourWalletsOut pic.twitter.com/aZgZiiWQAi
— Kaitlin Thals (@KaitlinThals) August 3, 2015
Speaking on Bishop’s resignation Abbott said, “Bronwyn Bishop has done the right thing by the parliament, by the government and by the people of Australia,
“The problem is not any particular individual. The problem is the entitlement system more generally.”
Meanwhile it is reported that the Finance Department has undertaken its own investigation into whether Mrs Bishop violated any rules.
Mrs Bishop initially refused to apologise for her spending but eventually did so following growing pressure for her to resign.
According to previous media reports her lavish international travel included a two-week trip last year with two aides to Europe; when a journalist recently referred to it as a £42,000 trip, Mrs Bishop was quick to point out that it cost only £41,000.
On Sunday Bishop said she had tendered her resignation as Speaker to the Governor-General, the Queen’s representative in Australia, but would continue as an MP.
“I have not taken this decision lightly, however it is because of my love and respect for the institution of the parliament and the Australian people that I have resigned as Speaker,” she said.
Mrs Bishop, who had served as speaker since 2013, has been compared to Margaret Thatcher and is known as a tough, unrelenting political operator.
In response political commentators said Mr Abbott has mishandled the scandal and failed to take swift action against the Speaker’s profligacy, especially as he called for cuts to public spending.
“According to which index of ethical governance did Team Abbott ever conclude her behaviour would be tolerated by voters who are otherwise being asked to tighten their belts?” said Mark Kenny in Fairfax Media.
“Bishop’s refusal to apologise for her helicopter indulgence, and others, on the public purse, should have immediately brought her undone. Indeed, the abuse was enough in itself, quite apart from her cavalier response.”
The Twitter hashtag movement that have sprouted from the scandal is based on a reference to the tribute to cricketer Phillip Hughes, whose death in November last year was marked on social media with #putoutyourbats. The idea was later replicated with #putyourdressout, remembering schoolteacher and bride-to-be Stephanie Scott, and #putyourscarfout, for Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh.