Fraud allegations levelled against a recently retired Liberal Party MP will be evaluated by the Australian Federal Police.
A package of classified documents has been mailed to the AFP containing details of tens of thousands of dollars worth of allegedly fraudulent taxpayer-funded payments made to the wife of Alex Somlyay, a senior MP who retired at the September election after 23 years in Federal Parliament.
Mr Somlyay is still refusing to respond to Fairfax Media about the allegations it broke, saying on Tuesday: "I don't want to talk to you. I'm not talking to you. I'm seeking legal representation."
Asked about Mr Somlyay's alleged conduct, a federal police spokeswoman said: "The AFP will evaluate all available information to determine whether a potential Commonwealth criminal offence has been committed."
After refusing for the previous 24 hours to answer questions about the allegations - including multiple opportunities on the day before the story was published - Mr Somlyay spoke to the ABC on Tuesday. He said the allegations, which were put to him repeatedly and in detail the previous day, had taken him "by complete surprise".
In the interview, he said his wife had worked from home as a researcher for speeches and committee hearings throughout 2012-13. He also brushed away suggestions he had obscured his wife's identity by listing her in his payroll under two different names.
A source close to Mr Somlyay's office was not aware of any work carried out by the MP's wife during the last term of Parliament.
Mr Somlyay's ''relief staffing budget'' states his wife worked 270 days or 2030 hours between September 2012 and December 2013. Yet halfway through his wife's alleged period of employment - on June 24, 2013 - Mr Somlyay gave his farewell speech to the House of Representatives. The month after Mr Somlyay announced his retirement his wife received a pay rise.
Documents obtained by Fairfax Media show that on July 1, 2013, the salary of Jennifer Donovan increased from $64,085 to $78,844. She was employed on that salary as Mr Somlyay's researcher until December 9, 2013 - four months after he stopped doing committee work.
Mr Somlyay billed taxpayers $69,157.15 for his wife's employment during 2012-13 alone.
Documents sent to the federal police show Mr Somlyay listed his wife under two different names on the same page of an internal staffing document titled ''monthly management report''.
At the top of the document, the former MP's wife is listed as ''Jennifer Bridget Somlyay''. But lower on the same page, under a section titled ''electorate employees'', an apparently different woman, ''Jennifer Donovan'' is listed.
Ms Donovan received at least $99,000 for ''electorate office'' work dating as far back as 2003, further documents indicate. Donovan is the maiden name of Mr Somlyay's wife.
Asked what his wife did to justify her salary, Mr Somlyay told the ABC: "Jenny's a qualified researcher and her work was associated with research for speeches, for committee hearings, for committee work you know, the parliamentary party, and she did that on a regular basis."
Yet another with "entitlement syndrome" .Is it too much to ask that all these bludgeing parasites get out of our taxpaying pockets?