Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas says Minister Paul Holloway has been severely embarrassed by damning evidence at today’s ‘stashed cash’ inquiry meeting, and must now apologise for untrue statements he made about so-called lavish spending by public servants at the 6-star Palazzo Versace hotel.
Evidence provided to the Upper House Select Committee this morning by senior public servant Kym Pennifold shows:
• One night’s accommodation at the Palazzo Versace was not paid for by South Australian taxpayers but by the conference organisers
• Mr Pennifold directed the two delegates/speakers to move to another cheaper hotel for the remaining nights’ accommodation in the interests of saving taxpayers money
• The actual tax invoice for $3595 circulated by Mr Holloway was the usual conference registration charge for one delegate and was not paid to the Palazzo Versace but was paid to the conference organisers IIR Pty Ltd.
“Mr Holloway, Mr Atkinson and the Rann Government had publicly attacked Mr Pennifold and other public servants by referring to ‘lavish spending’, ‘expensive junkets’ and ‘exclusive hotels’ (see attached),” Mr Lucas said today.
“Mr Holloway was ashen-faced in the Select Committee hearing this morning when Mr Pennifold strongly attacked the inaccuracy of Mr Holloway’s public claims.
“It is disappointing that the Rann Government and Mr Holloway should stoop so low in terms of their personal attacks on public servants in relation to the Palazzo Versace issue.
“Whilst the other important issues related to the stashed cash issue will be determined by Parliamentary inquiries, Minister Holloway and the Rann Government should now have the decency to admit they were wrong on the Palazzo Versace issue and apologise to Mr Pennifold for their untrue claims on this specific issue.”