#Coptergate: Australia's parliamentary speaker Bronwyn Bishop mocked on Twitter for taking helicopter at taxpayer's expense

Bishop was also mocked for changing her Facebook cover photo to an image which appeared to have been shot from a helicopter

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The Independent Online

Gone are the days when the public could only grumble quietly about a politician’s gaffe.

So, when an Australian politician (who was widely mocked last year when she tried to ban laughter) revealed she'd spent thousands of dollars on a taxpayer-funded helicopter ride the it was only a matter of time before the Aussie public had their say.

Bronwyn claimed $5,227 (£2,500) for chartering a helicopter from Melbourne to Geelong for a Liberal party fundraiser. The 75km journey takes merely an hour by car. She has since repaid the money.

She then made matters worse by changing her Facebook cover photo to a coastal view that appeared to have been shot from a helicopter.

The incident is the latest controversy surrounding Bishop’s spending habits, after she charged taxpayers more than $3300 (£1,565) for using a car on a Saturday, when she attended an opera.

While it is unknown whether she had official engagements on that and a spokesman told The Sydney Morning Herald that she was entitled to use the car, it merely highlighted the politician’s spending track record which was muddied after she claimed limousine rides as taxis in her expense reports.

Dubbed ‘choppergate’, this is what the public has made of it:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said of the matter earlier this week: “Obviously the action she was responsible for with the helicopter was out of line; it was out of line,”

“Yes, she has been a strong Speaker, she has been a good servant of our country, she has been a good servant of the Coalition and so she does have my confidence – but, like everyone who has done something like this, inevitably for a period of time, they are on probation," he added, The Guardian reported.