Labor has queried $1.
2 million in expenses claimed by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop including a trip to the Sydney premiere of the new Disney-Marvel movie, Thor: Ragnarok.
Labor senator Kimberley Kitching told a Senate committee on Monday the minister had spent the $1.2 million in a “variety of ways”, including attending a polo match and the movie premiere.
She asked Attorney-General George Brandis whether the spending met the ministerial standards code, which called for frontbenchers to “refrain from wasteful and extravagant spend of public money”.
Senator Brandis said Ms Bishop was “one of the most experienced and most respected ministers in the Australian government”.
“(She) is well aware of the standards and is always observant of them,” Senator Brandis said.
Thor: Ragnarok was primarily filmed in Queensland, featuring Melbourne-born actor Chris Hemsworth.
At the movie premiere on October 15, Ms Bishop was quoted as saying: “It does add a great deal to the Australian economy and it will raise our profile overseas as a sophisticated, creative nation.”
Senator Brandis told the committee, after seeking advice, the minister had attended not only in her official capacity but launched the premiere and gave a speech.
In any case, the minister was already in Sydney having returned from an official trip to South Korea and was due to travel to Canberra the following day for a parliament session.
The government provided $47.25 million to attract Thor: Ragnarok and another film produced by Sir Ridley Scott.
It was estimated the films would bring more than $300 million in investment and provide over 3000 jobs.
Senator Kitching said it appeared ministerial standards were applied in different ways to different ministers, citing the case of former minister Sussan Ley quitting over an “error of judgment” about a trip to the Gold Coast.
Senator Brandis rejected the suggestion.