The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade flew more than 20 staff to Paris in business class to discuss saving money.

There have been reports that the total cost of the trip was around 215 thousand dollars.

Molly Houseman reports.


DFAT came under fire from a Senate Committee hearing today.

Not only did 23 Department officials fly business class for a two day conference… they stayed in a four-star hotel, where rooms start at 500 dollars a night.

The contradiction was not lost on Labor’s Senate leader, Penny Wong.

Penny Wong, Opposition Senate Leader: “You flew people to Paris to discuss saving money? (reply) Yes Senator. (Penny) So you flew people to Paris to save money? (reply) We flew people to Paris to discuss how we might do things in a more effective way.”

DFAT were unable to confirm the exact cost of the trip.

Department Person: “We don’t report it in total Senator because the costs are dis-aggregated, each area uses their own training money to send officials to present”

DFAT says they chose Paris because it’s a major transport hub, it’s in the centre of Europe, and it was easier for staff overseas, to attend.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was not involved in the travel decision.

Molly Houseman, QUT News.