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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 May 2007) . . Page.. 741 ..

MR SPEAKER: Order! The fact of the matter is that I have made rulings in the past about members taking care about attempting to influence matters which are before tribunals, in particular before the courts. All I can do is urge members to take care. I must admit that I was not drawn to intervening in either of the comments that you referred to, Mrs Dunne, because I thought they were merely asides, but I think that members still should take care about mentioning any of these sorts of issues because of the possibility that they might affect the outcomes. The minister’s time has expired.

Public service—credit card use

MR PRATT: My question is to the Chief Minister. Information obtained by the Canberra Times from the Chief Minister’s Department’s credit card records for 2005-06 show that on at least two occasions substantial purchases were made by an officer of the department at Vintage Cellars. The details in the information made available indicate that employee E acquired goods costing, firstly, $491.98 and, in the second purchase, $405.82. Chief Minister, can you outline any guidelines that exist within your department that relate to the purchase of alcohol with ACT taxpayers’ money?

MR STANHOPE: As I indicated earlier, the Auditor-General in her report acknowledged that ACT agencies had a range of policies in relation to credit card use that were deemed or considered by the Auditor-General to be appropriate. Indeed, I understand that the guidelines for credit card use that apply in the ACT are consistent with those that apply in every government around Australia.

Yes, we have guidelines in relation to credit card use. We also have policies in relation to official hospitality. I do not think you can say that there is no mention of alcohol or official hospitality in the credit card guidelines. They are around use and accountability and the need for public servants to be respectful of the use and utility of public funds.

There are official entertainment guidelines that apply throughout the ACT public service, the commonwealth public service—indeed, throughout every public service in Australia. As I understand it, they apply almost certainly throughout every major corporation that operates in Australia. Official entertainment, involving the supply of alcohol on formal occasions or as an incident of entertainment, is a matter of common use in the ACT public service and its agencies, the commonwealth, governments and major corporations.

I would imagine—I am not sure; I would need to check this—that all departments buy and store alcohol on a regular basis for formal functions, working lunches and entertainment. I go to functions all over town all the time, as do you. I have been at functions where I have seen each of you drinking alcohol which I am sure was purchased with an ACT public service credit card. I have seen you doing it.

Mr Smyth: Not me.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Smyth says, “Not me.” The family man from the Tuggeranong Valley would not let a sip of ACT taxpayer purchased alcohol pass his

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