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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (1 May) . . Page.. 745..


MRS DUNNE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, why in your answer did you say that some of the credit card expenditure had been regrettable? Do you regret the almost weekly expenditure on lunch by a senior member of your department during the 2005-06 financial year?

MR STANHOPE: This requires a subjective assessment or response in relation to each. It is perhaps, as I say, a question ostensibly without an answer, being so subjective in its nature. One would have to go back and assess the nature of the meeting, the outcome, the topics discussed, what particular benefit accrued from a particular piece of hospitality, and I do not have the answers to those; but I think the response to the question is that we have credit card guidelines, which the Auditor-General believes to be appropriate, generally speaking. There were no suggestions of fraud or misfeasance in relation to any of these expenditures. Many of the expenditures over which you are casting suspicion I am sure have a very innocent and appropriate response. I have been asked to provide-

Mr Pratt: You can tell us on Thursday then.

MR STANHOPE: It may be, Mr Pratt, that I can provide them this afternoon. It is just that I do not know and I am not going to go giving undertakings-

Mr Pratt: Well, you've got till Thursday.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Pratt, I have as long as I need. It may be that I can answer the questions today; I just do not know, and I am not going to give you an undertaking to provide information by Thursday when I do not know what is required to actually develop. It may be that I can provide the detail of each of these expenditures this afternoon. Indeed, in the context of the very unfortunate besmirching of the reputations of the ACT government senior executives that is at the heart of this range of questions today, it would perhaps be best if I did seek to provide the details of these expenditures this afternoon so that we can at least go some way towards salvaging the reputations of ACT senior public servants that you, today, have indicated that you have no compunction about destroying. You have absolutely no compunction about destroying those reputations and it might be that all I can do in order to seek to rehabilitate, to the extent that I can, the reputations that you have tarnished so deliberately today will be to actually provide that information.

Public service-credit card use

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, given the concerns raised by the Canberra Times in their questioning of expenditure by credit card in your department, within the Chief Minister's Department what process is required to justify or account for the benefit received from taxpayer-funded meals for departmental executives and personnel?

MR STANHOPE: As I have indicated, the ACT public service and its agencies do utilise credit cards consistent with policies and procedures that the Auditor-General found in her report to be adequate. In addition to that, of course, there are, I think, a range of perhaps finance directions relating to official expenditure, and they set the


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