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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 May 2007) . . Page.. 735 ..

MR STANHOPE: No, Dr Foskey, I do not believe it is going back on that commitment. That was the position that we adopted and which we have historically held. I think anybody that works their way through the issue would accept that it is a policy position that really would only be practical if it were applied nationally. That is the position that we have adopted. When there is a national approach or a national ban on battery hens then we will implement the position.

In the context of the full debate around egg production and the care and treatment of hens involved in egg production, there is an issue of the appropriateness of the battery arrangement. This party and this government have previously adopted a position in relation to that. It was a position tempered by an acknowledgement that that particular policy position was only relevant as part of a national approach to the issue. I think that is sensible and reasonable, and that remains the position.

Public service—credit card use

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Chief Minister. On 22 February the Canberra Times put the following question to four ACT government departments: how much money—through credit cards or other means—did your department spend in 2005-06 on accommodation, conferences, courses and training, and meals, drinks and catering? Only one of the four government departments was able to provide an answer. Chief Minister, why are government departments unable to provide what should be basic information on expenditure from their accounting records?

MR STANHOPE: I will have to take advice on the specifics of the answer to that question, Mr Speaker. I am sorry I do not have that available to me. I would have thought I had a brief on it, but I cannot find one; so I will take the question on notice.

MR MULCAHY: Then I have supplementary question, Mr Speaker. In the light of that, what action are you taking to ensure that good governance practices are adhered to in ACT government departments?

MR STANHOPE: As I indicated in answer to an earlier question, good governance is very important to this government and I think it is reflected in the way in which the ACT public service conducts itself. It is a fine public service and I have to say that I am rather disturbed, and at one level distressed, that the Liberal Party, once again, think that public servants are fair game. It is a feature of the Liberal Party in this place, and it has been for the last five years, that, if you are looking for an issue, if you cannot be bothered to do the hard yards or the hard yakka of opposition, you find somebody to pick on, particularly within the ACT public service. It is a sign of desperation, it is a sign of weakness, that in an effort to generate a story—if you want a story, if you want a bit of spin, if you want a twist, if you want to create some scandal—you just generate some innuendo; put it out there that there is an issue in relation to credit card use within the ACT public service.

I am not aware of it. I do not know of it. I am aware of a report by the Auditor-General, which was, generally speaking, quite unremarkable. It mentioned some irregularities in reporting here and there, at the margins, at the edges. It did not excite any particular—

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