Federal Attorney-General’s department spends more than $160k

Anthony Galloway

Taxpayers have been char­ged more than $160,000 for a federal government ­department and its agencies to host lavish dinners, lunches and functions in one year.A dinner costing more than $1000 at a Collingwood restaurant, a $79-a-head banquet in Can­berra and an $8000 function in Paris were among the bills picked up the public purse.

Bureaucrats at the ­Attorney-General’s Department spent $62,929.60 on wining and dining in 2017-18, while its agencies forked out an extra $99,696.72.

The National Archives charged us more than $8000 for a function in Paris.
The soirees included:

THE High Court holding an end-of-year function for six staff at the Ides Restaurant in Collingwood costing $1130, and another lunch in Canberra costing $1016;

THE National Archives of Australia hosting a “French-Australian Shared Cultural Heritage Symposium” in Paris at a cost of $8106.52, a public event at Old Parliament House in Canberra for $4747.50 and a function at the Char Restaurant in Darwin for $7000;

DEPARTMENTAL officials taking out United States delegates to Canberra restaurant On Red for a $79-a-head ­banquet;

A DINNER at Canberra restaurant Buvette costing $659, including $135 in alcohol; and

ANOTHER dinner with five departmental staff and three other officials at Canberra restaurant Chairman & Yip, costing $486.

A $7000 function was held at Char Restaurant in Darwin.

The High Court spent more than $1100 on six staff at Ides in Collingwood.
A spokesman for the department said the expenditure on meals and functions in 2017-18 was similar to previous years.

“The department will ­occasionally host a function or official reception and may invite officials from Australia and from foreign delegations in those circumstances where it considers hosting such an event will advance the interests of the government,” the spokesman said.

“In addition, the Australian Government Solicitor will also host a function or an official reception with its ­clients to further its objectives in a manner which is ­consistent for a legal practice operating in a competitive ­environment.”

The spokesman said the spending on off-site entertainment by the department and its agencies should be compared to its total expenditure during the financial year of $489.5 million.

“Before approving expenditure of any kind, in all cases, departmental officials must have regard to their duty under the PGPA Act, which is to promote the proper use of Commonwealth money, i.e. the efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of the Commonwealth money,” the spokesman said.



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