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Tuesday, 25 May 1993
Page: 1262


Senator McMULLAN (Minister for the Arts and Administrative Services) (11.12 p.m.) —It is very difficult to respond without seeming to condone that which I do not condone—that is, the action of the officers concerned. When I respond as to why no charges were laid, I do not want my remarks to be interpreted as in any way justifying people misusing their credit cards. However, the judgment was made that the nature of the offences was such as to not warrant charges.

  All of us, in our daily lives in constituency offices and wherever, are aware of the consequences for individuals of charges being laid. It is not something that is done lightly, nor should it be. A judgment was made, and the nature of accountability is such that it is for the Parliament and the public to say whether they agree with the judgment made by the officers at that time. I do not intend to seek to overturn it retrospectively. I simply outline it and we will each make our own judgments now and if any incident should recur.


The CHAIRMAN —Are there any further matters in relation to taxation administration? There being no further matters, we will turn to the Department of Finance, program 7, the Australian National Audit Office. There being no questions, we will turn to the Department of Industrial Relations. We will go according to the running sheet—all questions taken on notice by witnesses at the committee's hearings and not answered by Wednesday, 19 May. Are there any questions in that area? Are there any questions under program 1? There being no questions, I turn to program 2 and, in particular, subprogram 2.1.