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Thursday, 25 September 1997
Page: 8555

Mr McGAURAN (Minister for Science and Technology)(5.35 p.m.) —Mr Speaker, I seek your indulgence to add to answers in question time today.

Mr SPEAKER —Indulgence granted.

Mr McGAURAN —During question time, I was asked several questions by the member for Hotham relating to forward dates and overnight claims. I will take you through those dates sequentially. The first one was 15 March 1996. I was scheduled to attend the state National Party election campaign launch in Shepparton in company with three state parliamentary colleagues. At the last moment, I cancelled and remained working in my Melbourne ministerial office until late. The claim for Melbourne this night is correct. However, the charter flight went ahead nonetheless. The account subsequently came to my electorate office, as it had originally been arranged through my office.

Mr Crean —Who was on the plane?

Mr McGAURAN —Three state parliamentary colleagues. It was wrongly submitted for payment by me. It was submitted several weeks later, on 6 May, with another account and was a genuine oversight on my part. Naturally, I did not receive the money and will accept the responsibility of arranging repayment.

I turn now to 15 July 1996. The claim for Canberra is incorrect. My records show that I was at my home at Nambrok; therefore it is a wrong payment of $145. On 16 July 1996, I did indeed charter to Canberra this day from West Sale. The claim from Melbourne is incorrect as my records show that I was in Canberra. There was a wrong payment of $275. Consequently, there is a $420 overpayment.

The claim for Melbourne on 5 August 1996 is correct. A hire car collected me at 8 a.m. from my home at Nambrok to drive me to the Latrobe Valley aerodrome and again collected me at 12.30 p.m. to travel to Melbourne for a business dinner. After voluntarily repaying $9,000 of taxpayers' funds, I now find that I will give another $1,462, being the charter of $1,042 and $420 travelling allowance. You can be sure I will be recouping the $1,000 from the passengers on the charter.