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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 830..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

details. I have certainly been briefed on it. My understanding is the expenditure was appropriate.

MR SMYTH: I ask a supplementary question. I assume it will go the Minister for Health. It is nice to see at least one minister is across her brief. Minister, what tangible benefit did this expenditure achieve for the people of Canberra? If you need to take it on notice, that will be fine.

MS GALLAGHER: In was in relation to official travel overseas to attend a conference in the public health area. I will provide you with the details.

Mr Pratt: Did the Glenfiddich stimulate intellectual research?

MS GALLAGHER: It was not for whisky.

Public service-credit card use

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, my question is addressed to the Chief Minister. Information obtained by the Canberra Times through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that a senior employee had spent taxpayers' money to purchase clothing at Nunie Ladies Fashion boutique in Canberra. Chief Minister, what have you done to ensure that inappropriate expenditure like this does not happen in the future, and, when it does happen, it is identified and repaid promptly?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the member for the question. It is important, I think, before we rush to judgment in relation to the appropriateness or otherwise and suggestions that the particular expenditure was inappropriate, that there be some understanding of the nature of the expenditure and the reasons for it.

Mrs Dunne: It was a fashion boutique.

MR STANHOPE: Questions were raised yesterday. I do not know the answer to the particular question or the particular issue.

Mrs Dunne: Why not?

MR STANHOPE: Just let me finish. So it was a fashion boutique. Yesterday questions were raised with the same innuendo and suggestion that the expenditure was inappropriate in relation to expenditure at Strandbags-the suggestion that, "Oh, this expenditure was at a fashion boutique."In fact, the expenditure at Strandbags was by Lucy Bitmead, a senior executive from the Chief Minister's Department, for the purchase of a wheeled carry case to assist her having regard to certain issues in relation to her physical capacity to carry departmental documents to external meetings.

That was the expenditure yesterday which you questioned in relation to Strandbags. The purchase was for a wheeled carry case to allow a departmental officer, a senior woman executive, to carry heavy documents to external meetings. I think you perhaps would have seen her from time to time wheeling that bag. I am sure you have seen the bag as she wheeled it across town to attend meetings. That expenditure was legitimate


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