Their reports, tabled in Parliament, reveals that they spent 4.9 million dollars on study tours to "investigate" everything from the global financial crisis to Mekong River hill tribes and upmarket boutiques in Milan, reports.

Queensland Liberal MP Peter Lindsay, who spent 15,619 dollars visiting 11 countries in 41 days, said he had learnt that Hezbollah – the Lebanon-based Islamist organisation that calls for the destruction of Israel – was not the radical group some thought it was, and could be a force for good in the Middle East.

He also praised President Mugabe’s "forward thinking" in tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe.

Another startling discovery was made by Mallee MP John Forrest, who took a challenging 18-day trip to northern Thailand to visit hill tribes in the Mekong River region.

In a candid report, Forrest described how he was kept up by barking dogs, how his taxi driver became hopelessly lost and how he ate at an internet cafe. He also observed that the chickens in villages were "scrawny".

Forrest – who misspelt the Thai currency as "bart" throughout his report – checked into the Bangkok Hilton for a stopover on his way back to Australia.

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who jetted to Italy for two weeks to find solutions to the Australian wool-industry crisis, said part of the motivation for heading to Italy was that she often asked herself why Australia produced the best wool in the world, only to sell it to Italy before buying back the clothes.

"I myself have been guilty of this, as I suspect have quite a number of my Senate colleagues, judging by their suits. So I decided to get the answer for myself. I admit I had only seen sheep in paddocks and never touched one in my life," Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.

The senator’s trip included visits to fashion house Zegna in Milan and textile mills where she purchased several outfits.