Beckett was deemed to be in breach of parliamentary rules after claiming $900 to cover "the supply of plants for hanging baskets, tubs, pots, planters, pouches and garden" and a further $1,100 for "labour and materials for painting of summer house, shed and pergola."
"Grace and favour homes [properties that provide a retreat from the toils of office] are not rent free, we are taxed on them as a benefit in kind."
A stern slap on the wrist: an official in the department of finance and administration sent Beckett a letter explaining that expenses claims must be "wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred to enable you to stay overnight away from your main home." In regard to the garden work, the official went on: "I find it difficult to conclude that it meets the requirements set out in the Green Book" [the manual that outlines parliamentary salaries, allowances and pensions]. Beckett has admitted that the large gardening bills were submitted by mistake.