Liberal member for Canning, Don Randall, pictured during question time in 2009, has firmly rejected the need for close examination of MP expenses. Liberal member for Canning, Don Randall, pictured during question time in 2009. Photo: Stefan Postles

"The gentleman in question [Mr Randall] tells me that . . . he went from Perth to Cairns to have some very important discussions with the whip," Mr Abbott. The whip at the time was Leichardt MP Warren Entsch, whose electorate takes in Cairns.
But when quizzed by The Australian Financial Review, Mr Entsch refused to divulge the content of those discussions and admitted he did not know if they constituted "electorate business" as Mr Randall had claimed.
Mr Entsch said that he had met confidentially with Mr Randall in Cairns for a "good couple of hours" and that the "time he spent with me was completely legitimate".
He added that in Mr Randall's view, the confidential conversation could not have taken place on the phone.
Tony Abbott has said Don Randall flew on a first class taxpayer-funded trip to Cairns with his wife to meet  former chief opposition whip, Warren Entsch (above). Former chief opposition whip Warren Entsch. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
Asked why Mr Randall could not have used a telephone – rather than flying more than 3000 kilometres on business class flights with his wife to the same location of his investment property – the Prime Minister said some discussions were "best done face to face".
"There are certain things that just have to happen face to face and look, members of Parliament are entitled to travel to have important meetings because teleconferencing is sometimes no substitute for a face-to-face discussion," Mr Abbott said.
"Now I'm not defending any particular action and look over the years there have been a lot of things which look contrived I've got to say."
Later asked why Mr Randall's wife went on the Cairns trip given it involved a work meeting, Mr Abbott ignored the question before being driven away.
The Prime Minister has resisted taking action against his colleagues for questionable expense claims, despite a series of stories by Fairfax Media, revealing that a quarter of the Coalition cabinet, including Mr Abbott, had billed taxpayers thousands of dollars to attend weddings.
Mr Abbott said he was "not ruling out improvements" to the entitlements system, but he had yet to see an idea that would be better than the current arrangements.
"I appreciate the public are always concerned and annoyed whenever there are stories of politicians allegedly misusing entitlements," Mr Abbott said.
"I'm not saying that we are never going to change the system. I am always vigilant for ways to improve.
"The difficulty is that whatever the system is there's always going to be arguments at the margin."
Mr Randall has yet to explain another $5000 trip to Melbourne with a family member on a Saturday last September, which he claimed as "sittings of Parliament" despite the fact Parliament has not sat in Melbourne since 1927.
Mr Randall has refused numerous times to say what he was doing in Melbourne on that Saturday and whether he and his wife attended the West Coast Eagles AFL semi-final that night. The family member who accompanied Mr Randall flew back to Perth after spending the Saturday in Melbourne.
Mr Randall has also spent thousands on books including children's cookbooks, a guide to Broadway musicals and multiple copies of Guinness World Records. He said in a statement that these were purchased "as gifts for community groups and schools in my electorate".
It is understood that Mr Randall's Cairns trip has been referred to the Australian Federal Police. The AFP is not currently investigating Mr Randall, but it is understood the Finance Department has been asked to examine the trip.