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Tony Abbott adds family gifts to pecuniary interest register

26 May-2014, Australian Associated Press: Tony Abbott has updated his pecuniary interest register to include gifts and hospitality offered to his wife and daughters.

Tony Abbott adds family gifts to pecuniary interest register

Tony Abbott adds family gifts to pecuniary interest register
Tony Abbott celebrates his election victory with his wife and daughters. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

But he has declined to add an unadvertised design college scholarship which was awarded to his daughter Frances. The prime minister has argued the scholarship was earned on merit and Frances was a distinction-average student.

Les Taylor, chairman of the Whitehouse Institute of Design in Sydney, has made donations to the New South Wales Liberal party and has known the politician for many years.

Abbott was given clothing on two occasions when he was opposition leader. Those gifts have been declared on the members’ interests register.

In 2011 Frances Abbott received an institute scholarship – known as the “chairman’s scholarship” – worth up to $60,000. She is now employed by the institute in Melbourne.

The Whitehouse Institute is a member of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training, which lobbied the government for extending commonwealth-supported places beyond public universities.

Abbott updated his pecuniary interest register by adding three pages of entries, 23 of which relate to his wife and daughters.

They included tickets to fashion shows and the gift of a dress from the designer Johnny Schembri to his daughter Bridget, which she kept and paid $20 to the collector of public monies.

The updates also include details about the prime minister’s wife, Margie Abbott, and her charity work and contributions. On Saturday the partner of former prime minister Julia Gillard questioned Margie Abbott’s charity contributions.

The prime minister has kept the gift of a set of Shimano bicycle gears and wheels from the Japanese leader, Shinzo Abe, and paid $2,475 to the collector of public monies.

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