It was hard to believe claims by some Rann Government Ministers that there were no records of guests they took at taxpayers’ expense to the Government Corporate Box at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
“Documents released under Freedom of Information (see attached) showed Minister Pat Conlon and then Minister Steph Key invited guests to a performance of Norah Jones as they consumed $869 in alcohol and food, including nine bottles of wine, 11 beers and a $100 platter of “Fromage des clarines and ironstone aged goude,” Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said today.
“However, Mr Conlon and his office claimed there were no letters, emails or notes of telephone conversations that would reveal the names of the Ministers’ guests.
“Similarly, Attorney-General Michael Atkinson (Il Divo), Ministers Jennifer Rankine (Boy from Oz), John Hill (KD Lang) and Jane Lomax-Smith (Finn Brothers) also could not provide details of names of guests they took to the Government Corporate Box.
“As a former Minister, I know that guests will have been contacted by letter, email or telephone and issued with an invitation by the Minister to be a guest in the Corporate Box, so it is impossible to believe there is no record of the names of guests who attended with these Ministers,” Mr Lucas said.
“In fact, some Ministers have responded to the FOI request by providing copies of emails or letters sent to invited guests.
“The fact that some Ministers are not answering these questions automatically raises suspicions about what they are trying to hide.
“This is a simple issue of transparency and accountability for expenditure of taxpayers’ money.
“After a five month battle, some documents were finally released under FOI in relation to Ministers’ use of the Corporate Box. Some Ministers have claimed to have no records of guests they invited whilst other Ministers refused to reveal names of some guests.”
“Everyone accepts that Ministers are entitled to reasonable use of the Government Corporate Box at the Entertainment Centre.
“However, if Ministers were using the corporate facilities solely or predominantly for families, friends and personal staff, then they should be held accountable publicly for that expenditure.
“Ministers Conlon, Atkinson, Rankine, Hill and Lomax-Smith (and others) should be required to reveal names of their guests in these cases.”
Ministers are entitled to use the taxpayer funded Corporate Box for all performances at the Entertainment Centre by inviting up to 20 guests who should have some connection to their Ministerial responsibilities.