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Wednesday, 25 February 1987
Page: 699


Mr CARLTON —Madam Speaker, I seek leave to make a personal explanation.


Madam SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr CARLTON —I do.


Madam SPEAKER —Please proceed.


Mr CARLTON —The Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism (Mr John Brown), in the course of Question Time and during his answer to a question, made the comment that I had kept a car waiting outside the Inter-Continental Hotel, presumably in Sydney, until 6 a.m. I would like to indicate what the circumstances of this incident were. I wish to refer to a letter that I wrote to the Minister afterwards because I heard that a car had waited for me until early in the morning. I had come out of the hotel at 11 o'clock the previous evening after a function and I could not find a car. I went to the Commonwealth Centre and I could not find a car there. I rang up the depot, which was closed, and got a message. I rang the taxi service and got a taxi home and that is recorded by the Department of Local Government and Administrative Services. Concerned that I might be charged for the car waiting until 6 o'clock in the morning, and not understanding why on earth the driver would wait as long as that, I had my staff contact the depot and ask that I not be charged for that car. The depot refused to remove the charge. I then wrote to the then Special Minister of State, the present Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr Young), detailing the circumstances and asking that the charge not be registered on my account. I subsequently got a letter from the Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services (Mr Uren) stating:

Your letter of 13.8.86 to the Special Minister of State . . . regarding the difficulties you experienced with Commonwealth Transport on the evening of Thursday 7 August at the Inter-Continental Hotel in Sydney has been referred to me for attention.

I am advised that the driver allocated to pick you up arrived at 11.00 pm and parked in close proximity to the entrance of the I.C. Hotel, but has been unable to explain why he did not observe your emergence from the Hotel.

The driver was relatively new and did not then follow the correct practice of entering the function venue to make contact with you reasonably soon after the designated pick-up time.

Appropriate instructions have now been issued and I consider it unlikely that a similar situation will occur again.

I am sorry you were put to some inconvenience. No charge will be rendered by my Department for the cost incurred by our driver.