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Tuesday, 13 September 1983
Page: 658


Mr BURR —Mr Deputy Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented and seek leave to make a personal explanation.


Mr SPEAKER —If the honourable member continues to misrepresent me as the Deputy Speaker I will not give him the opportunity to speak.


Mr BURR —My apology. Mr Speaker, being a humble back bencher it is not my custom to be in the House when you are in the chair. In this morning's edition of the Sydney Morning Herald a letter was published under the signature of J. S. Dawkins, Minister for Finance, Parliament House, Canberra. Two particular facts were published in that letter that grievously misrepresented my particular position. The Minister for Finance (Mr Dawkins) referred in his letter to the Sydney Morning Herald to a speech I made in this House of Thursday, 25 August in relation to the hospitality charges for the National Economic Summit Conference. In his letter to the Sydney Morning Herald the Minister, Mr Dawkins, states:

The claims made by Mr Burr were entirely wrong. The figures which he cited were his own invention.

Later in the letter he states:

Mr Burr seeks to diminish the very tangible and enduring achievements of the Summit--

Which we can argue about-

by falsely claiming that expenditure was excessive.

Mr Speaker, I would like to answer both those charges made by the Minister, if I have your indulgence. In order to justify the claim made by the Minister that the figures I cited were my own invention, I refer to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Refreshment Rooms invoice to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for its Summit Conference account for April 1983, showing a total of $46,215.07. That figure is made up of invoice No. 6823 dated 14 April for $73; invoice No. 11936 dated 14 April for $118.05; invoice No. 5425 dated 14 April for $327.10; invoice No. 11931 dated 14 April for $4,366.38; invoice No. 4388 dated 14 April for $4,737.53; invoice No. 12893 dated 14 April for $36,411.85; invoice No. 5912 dated 20 April, which is six days after the Summit Conference, for liquor delivered to the Cabinet Room for $119.28; and invoice No. 5913 dated 20 April, again for liquor delivered to the Cabinet Room, for $61.88. Mr Speaker , I seek leave to have those documents incorporated in Hansard so that the Minister can be in no doubt as to their authenticity.


Mr SPEAKER —I suggest that the documents are rather long.


Mr BURR —Very well. I seek leave to have the documents tabled.

Leave granted.


Mr BURR —I claim that those figures justify entirely the figures I gave to the House on 25 August and prove the falsity of the claim made by the Minister in the Sydney Morning Herald. The second matter to which I wish to refer is the claim made by the Minister that I falsely claimed that the expenditure was excessive. I have already pointed out to the House that the total expenditure was $46,215.07. A document from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to Senate Estimates Committee A, which was tabled to that Committee on 10 May 1983, shows that the budget for hospitality at the Summit Conference was $25,000 . The actual expenditure was $46,215.07-an overrun of the budget for hospitality of 84.85 per cent. I claim that that overrun of 84.85 per cent justifies my claim that expenditure for hospitality at the Summit was excessive.