Australian Health Minister stands aside amid expenses probe

Canberra: Australian Health Minister Sussan Ley temporarily stood aside on Monday after using a taxpayer-funded trip to purchase an apartment worth $585,200 on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Ley purchased the property in May 2015. The cost of the trip was about $2,300, Efe news reported.

She defended that the decision to purchase the apartment, saying it was “neither planned nor anticipated”.

In a statement, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Ley had agreed to “to stand aside without ministerial pay” until the investigation was completed.

“Australians expect the government to deal with these serious matters very thoroughly…I expect the highest standards from my ministers in all aspects of their conduct, and especially the expenditure of public money,” said Turnbull.

Martin Parkinson, Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, was chosen to carry out the investigation.