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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (1 May) . . Page.. 729..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

your own work ethic and your own willingness to do the hard yards that we are all paid to do.

That is the two-edged nature of the sword. You willingly grasped these opportunities to chair and control standing committees and now you are whingeing about your capacity to access information. Look at yourselves and your work ethic. If you are not prepared to do the work, hand responsibility for those committees to the government that is prepared to do the work.

Public service-credit card use

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Chief Minister.

MR SPEAKER: I cannot hear you, Mrs Burke; your colleagues are chattering away.

MRS BURKE: The voice is getting better, but bear with me. My question is to the Chief Minister, through you, Mr Speaker. The Auditor-General, in a letter to the shadow Treasurer on 28 February 2007, said:

I believe the findings and recommendations of the Audit Report No. 1 of 2007 titled Credit Card Use, Hospitality and Sponsorship, while limited in coverage, have wider implications for all ACT agencies beyond those audited.

In that report, in relation to hospitality and entertainment expenses, the Auditor-General found the following:

Prior approval for hospitality expenditure was not always obtained and details of guests and the purpose of the event were not always recorded.

Chief Minister, how can the people of Canberra be assured that their tax dollars are being spent on hospitality with proper levels of accountability?

MR STANHOPE: I am sure that the people of the ACT are assured by the fact that we have an independent auditor who earlier this year delivered a very significant report into issues around credit card usage within the ACT public service.

I would have thought that, if a community were looking for some assurance around a government's willingness to be open and transparent, the first measure of that willingness would be a well resourced, unfettered, statutory, independent auditor with an open and unrestricted remit to look at every aspect of government expenditure. Indeed, through the Auditor-General's investigation into and report on credit card usage within the Australian Capital Territory public service, we see precisely that-a report which identified some minor discrepancies, at the edge, in relation to form and formality around credit card use.

Go to the report; go to the detail of the report. Identify for me those parts of the report that engendered a serious censure, by the auditor, of any office or official within the ACT public service. Certainly some irregularities were identified; that is to be regretted. But at one level it is also to be understood that, by the nature of expenditure by any person or any public official travelling where hospitality is required or


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