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Thursday, 2 December 2004
Page: 81

Senator HOGG (2:58 PM) —My question is to Senator Hill, the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans' Affairs. I refer to the Auditor-General's report No. 15, which uncovers massive financial bungling by a range of government departments and entities. Why did the Department of Veterans' Affairs operate an illegal operating overdraft in 2002-03 in breach of its contract with its bank? Did the minister know of and/or approve such an arrangement?

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) —I am having a bad day today. I will refer that to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs.

Senator HOGG —You are having a bad day, Minister, so I have a supplementary question which you may well take to the minister at the same time. In respect of the overdraft, what was the interest rate payable and total interest bill paid for this illegal overdraft scheme? Why was such an expensive funding operation entered into?

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) —I will obtain an answer from the minister.