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Tuesday, 25 March 1997
Page: 2368

Senator MURPHY —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Minister, can you confirm the report in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday that Mr Max Moore-Wilton, the Secretary to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, has approved for himself a tax free allowance which includes a component for accommodation of $17,000 a year? Can you inform the Senate of the components of other allowances that Mr Moore-Wilton has afforded himself: that is, meals and incidental expenses?

Senator HILL —I had a note on that yesterday because I thought the Labor Party might be on the job and might ask the question the day it was reported.

Senator Carr interjecting

The PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Carr.

Senator HILL —As I recall, the advice that I had yesterday was that the payments are in accordance with usual practices for a temporary deployment. There is nothing unusual at all in this matter. Therefore, there is nothing for you to be particularly disturbed about.

Senator MURPHY —Madam President, I ask a supplementary question. I suggest that Senator Hill should read the report in full. It is also asserted in the Sydney Morning Herald that SES officers are generally expected to make a personal contribution to their temporary accommodation allowance. Mr Max Moore-Wilton has not. On what basis has he exempted himself from that obligation?

Senator HILL —As I understand it, he did not exempt himself from anything. As I recall, he did not make the determination. I will check on that but my advice is, as I said to you a moment ago, that he is being paid in accordance with usual practice. I can give you a list of other temporary deployments who have been paid on a similar basis.