Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 May 2007) . . Page.. 743 ..
MR SPEAKER: I did not hear it and the record would not have heard it had it not been raised, I suppose.
Mr Hargreaves: Mr Speaker, my brother-in-law heard it—and he lives in Richardson! I ask you to get him to withdraw it.
MR SPEAKER: Order! If there was an imputation—
Mr Pratt: I’ve been on lurgy, Mr Speaker. I couldn’t project that far.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, please stand up. If there was an imputation, would you withdraw it, please.
Mr Pratt: If there was an imputation, I shall withdraw.
Mr Hargreaves: There was. It’s qualified, Mr Speaker.
Mr Pratt: Sit down, Mr Hargreaves. Without qualification, I gracefully withdraw.
Public service—credit card use
MRS DUNNE: My question without notice is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, on 23 February 2007, the Canberra Times made the point to your office that an executive from your department had dined out at taxpayers’ expense almost every week during the 2005-06 financial year. Chief Minister, what action have you taken to ensure that when departmental executives dine out at taxpayers’ expense the meetings produce a tangible benefit for the people of Canberra?
MR STANHOPE: As I said, credit card usage by ACT public officials is subject to a range of policies and procedures, all of which are public and which the Auditor-General determined to be generally appropriate. They are consistent with those of all other governments around Australia. My recollection of the report and the detail of it is that, apart from some minor issues or irregularities around the edge, credit card use by ACT public servants was appropriate—accepting that there were some irregularities that were regrettable and that have been drawn to the attention of the appropriate officers.
The question of how one determines this is an interesting one. If the public has a view that there is nothing to be gained by official hospitality, perhaps we could just serve a cup of tea. But, in the nature of business and the execution of business—with issues around communication, networking and the development of partnerships and collaborations—there is an accepted methodology that is pursued by governments at every level in Australia, that is pursued by every government statutory corporation that I know, and indeed that is pursued, embraced and adopted by every corporation that I know of any significance, size or level of success.
We as an organisation, wishing to be successful—and take advantage of every opportunity and make the partnerships, connections and collaborations that are part and parcel of a successful organisation—also participate in the provision of