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QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Ministerial Staff - Travel
MR BERRY: My question is to Mr Stefaniak as Education Minister. Mr Stefaniak, on 24 August, in answer to a question about the expenditure of $405 for one of your staff to attend a party political coalition advisers on education meeting, you undertook to discuss it with the Chief Minister and, if there was a problem, to ensure that it was repaid. You assured the house that this would not happen again. Was this expenditure approved? Has the money been repaid?
MR STEFANIAK: I thank Mr Berry for his question. Yes, I have discussed that matter with the Chief Minister. The matter in question related to a body of which I am chair, the ANTAMINCO meeting of Education Ministers or the ANTA meeting of Education Ministers.
Mr Connolly: That is not what it was identified as. It was identified as a coalition advisers meeting.
MR STEFANIAK: No, it was not very well identified. In relation to that meeting, my senior assistant was asked to organise a number of things and attend a meeting of advisers to State Ministers in Melbourne. That related to Liberal State Ministers in Melbourne, who were concerned about a number of items on the agenda. She duly attended, at an expenditure of $405.
Mr Berry: Come on, come on!
MR STEFANIAK: If you listen, Mr Berry, I will get on to it.
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MR STEFANIAK: I was the chair of ANTAMINCO. The meeting lasted for some six hours. We have made inquiries, and all other State Ministers' assistants who attended were paid for in the normal course of events. However, I did not go; no other Ministers went. They were all advisers of State Liberal Ministers. Even though everyone else was paid for by their respective State governments, because there were only Liberal Ministers' assistants there and because it might be perceived to be party political - - -
Mr Berry: Perceived to be?
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Berry, I am pretty sure that when I dig deeper into this one I will find many precedents where Labor people were paid for. I doubt whether I will find a precedent where it was paid for by either the individual or the individual's boss. As I indicated, if there is any problem at all, I am quite happy to repay that. I do not believe that anyone else would have to in that situation, but I will repay that, Mr Berry. I have talked to the Chief Minister about that and that will be done.