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Monday, 4 May 1987
Page: 2280

(Question No. 1594)

Senator Puplick asked the Minister representing the Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services, upon notice, on 18 February 1987:

(1) Is it a fact that the home rented for Australia's Ambassador for Disarmament, Richard Butler, might be described, truthfully, in an historical, architectural and social environment fashion as a ``palace''.

(2) What is the rent per month, in Australian dollars, being paid for Mr Butler's palace.

(3) How is this expense to the Australian taxpayer justified.

(4) On what date was the contract signed to rent this palace for Mr Butler and how many days have elapsed since Mr Butler took up residence to the date of drafting the answer to this question.

(5) On how many of these days has Mr Butler actually resided in his palace.

Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) No, the Ambassador for Disarmament occupies an official residence at 145 Route De Lausanne, 1197 Prangins. The house is a three storey building with a floor area of approximately 340 square metres, this is within established guidelines of 375 square metres for comparable Australian Ambassadorial residences. The house could not be described in an ``historical architectural and social environmental fashion'' as a ``palace''.

(2) The rent for the building which is used as the official residence is SF16,138 which at the present rate of exchange is AUD16,304 per month.

(3) The official Residence for the Ambassador for Disarmament was leased at market rental.

(4) The lease commenced on 20 March 1984, the date on which the Ambassador took up residence. The lease had therefore been in effect for 1075 days on 1 March 1987.

(5) The Ambassador and his family have used the official residence as their permanent place of living since 20 March 1984. In this time, the Ambassador has been required to attend disarmament consultations in other countries including New York and, accordingly has been absent from Geneva on official duty approximately 300 days.