Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi is questioning why a one-year lease for a Canberra house with a rental of $3,000 a week was signed before the September election which saw Tony Abbott became prime minister.


"Perhaps well intentioned, but very presumptuous, and I'm not sure the taxpayers will enjoy the fact they've got $156,000 worth of lease payments to pay for an empty building," ABC quoted Mr Bernardi.

It was the Department of Prime Minister and the Cabinet that inked the 12-month lease on the Canberra house in August during the caretaker period as The Lodge, the PM's official residence, underwent major repairs.

But Mr Abbott said after he won that he does not want to live in the Canberra home and instead opted to stay in a room that rents for $116 a night at the Australian Federal Police training headquarters until The Lodge repairs, expected to take 8 months, are over.

Elizabeth Kelly of the Department of Prime Minister said it is now trying to terminate the lease, but defended signing the contract because it wanted to find an accommodation for the PM comparable to The Lodge.

The empty rented house is described by real estate professionals as a sensation executive residence with large masters suite that has a luxury bathroom and dressing room, three more spacious bedrooms with lofts and a main bathroom.

The unit also has a private study and children's wing with a large play room and access to the garden, on top of an entertainment area with an 18-metre pool with space and cabana. The based could accommodate six cars and has a workshop, wine cellar, circular driveway and electronic gates.

The property is located at Arthur Circle, Forrest.