Labor leader Peter Malinauskas must immediately sack his frontbench colleague, Tom Koutsantonis – ironically the Opposition’s spokesman for Government accountability – who has been caught out concealing thousands of dollars of taxpayer spending on boozy lunches, dinners and fine wine during his time as state Treasurer.
In recent weeks, Mr Malinauskas has said repeatedly that he would show leadership and sack any member of his team for abusing taxpayer funds.
On 5AA on July 23, he said it was critical a leader “applies the same standards to his own colleagues that he expects of the public service and indeed everyone else in the private sector.”
Documents released under FoI show that, despite rules requiring public disclosure, Mr Koutsantonis hid lavish spending on boozy lunches, dinners and fine wine (including Moet French champagne) by either failing to publish actual receipts or by using the credit card of his Office Manager – who was a public servant – to avoid public scrutiny.
Claims made by Mr Koutsantonis to The Advertiser yesterday and media today that he publicly disclosed all credit card spending in his office in the month it occurred are simply not true.
This morning, Mr Koutsantonis told ABC Radio: “I can tell the Treasurer and the people of South Australia any event that I attended, no matter who paid for it, whether it was my office manager, my Chief of Staff or out of my own credit card or any other Minister, if I was there, it was proactively disclosed every month.”
- For example: A $856 lunch at Louca’s Seafood Restaurant in the city on June 16, 2017 (including $247 spent on alcohol) charged to the taxpayer was not disclosed at all.
Attached are copies of the actual Louca’s invoice and Mr Koutsantonis’ June 2017 credit card disclosure which shows no disclosure of either the invoice or the $856 expenditure.
Attached is also a copy of the Office Manager’s June 2017 credit card disclosure which also doesn’t disclose the $856 expenditure. There are many other similar examples of lunches and dinners which were never disclosed, contrary to the claims made by Mr Koutsantonis.
“As a Minister, he had his own Ministerial credit card, and it defies belief that he would use his Office Manager’s credit card – who was not at the boozy lunch or dinner – to pay for the meals and alcohol,” said Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Mr Malinauskas has a member of his front bench who has been caught red-handed hiding thousands of dollars of taxpayer spending on boozy lunches and dinners and bottles of alcohol, including French champagne, and now wrongly claiming that he publicly released all this information.”
“It’s easy to talk the talk, now Mr Malinauskas must walk the walk and sack Mr Koutsantonis.”