Former Liberal MP Alex Somlyay says his employment of his wife was within the rules.

Former federal Liberal MP Alex Somlyay has defended employing his wife during his time in parliament.

Fairfax Media reported on Tuesday that documents showed the 23-year Queensland political veteran had billed taxpayers for his wife’s employment.

But a source confirmed to Fairfax Mr Somlyay’s wife had never been seen at the office during the past three years.

Mr Somlyay told the ABC his wife was a qualified researcher who had been doing legitimate work for him.

“Jenny, my wife, was employed by me under the relief budget, which was within the rules,” he said.

“It is true that she worked from home, which was part of the workplace agreement, which she signed and she did the work and she got the pay.”

The Liberal Party has from this month banned MPs employing family members.

Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne said all MPs were well aware of the ban.

“That is our policy,” he said.

He said he understood that no one had made a complaint to authorities about Mr Somlyay’s conduct.

“I’m sure if there is any wrongdoing, it will be pursued … by the appropriate authorities if somebody lays a complaint.”