> South Australian MP Fraser Ellis fails in bid to throw out fraudulent allowance claims case against him

South Australian MP Fraser Ellis fails in bid to throw out fraudulent allowance claims case against him

South Australian MP Fraser Ellis has lost a bid to have deception charges against him dismissed.

The Yorke Peninsula MP is due to stand trial later this month.

The Liberal-turned-independent is seeking to contest allegations he made 78 fraudulent claims for an accommodation allowance totalling more than $18,000.

He was one of two MPs charged and several investigated for their use of the allowance by the state’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption after a series of exclusive ABC News stories.

Mr Ellis had argued the case against him should be dismissed, because the allowance claim forms which are the subject of his alleged deception have been tabled in parliament, making them subject to the “absolute protection of parliamentary privilege”.

This morning, Magistrate Simon Smart dismissed Mr Ellis’s application to stay the charges.

The state’s ICAC Act was significantly amended in November last year, after Mr Ellis was charged.

Amongst the wholesale changes, the protections of parliamentary privilege were strengthened, so that ICAC cannot exercise any powers “in relation to any matter to which parliamentary privilege applies”.

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