Adrian Pederick puts second mistaken expense claim down to ‘clerical error’
The Murraylands' state MP says the opposition's continued focus on an accommodation allowance is "an attack on country representation".
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State MP Adrian Pederick has lashed out at his critics after being made to repay an expense claim for the second time.
In Parliament two weeks ago, it was revealed that Mr Pederick had recently repaid taxpayers around $230 after claiming an allowance to which he was not entitled.
A scandal around the same allowance – the country members’ accommodation allowance – led him to resign from his parliamentary role last July.
Mr Pederick said he had made a simple mistake with the more recent claim, for a night in 2019 – “it slipped through on the paperwork”.
But he argued that he would have been entitled to the same payment if he had simply written down a different date.
He routinely claimed payment for the maximum 135 nights each year, which he said he needed because he so often had to stay in Adelaide.
“In 15-plus years’ service ... there’d be approximately 300 nights I couldn’t claim because I’d run out of allocation,” he said.
“I’ve never emptied a suitcase, virtually.
“I’m not complaining ... but we’re not home much.”
He said it was unjust that opposition Labor MPs had continued to focus on the issue.
“I think the opposition is making a mountain out of a molehill,” he said.
“It’s an attack on country representation, which obviously doesn’t hit the Labor Party as hard.
“We don’t live in the city, so country members have to have other arrangements.”
‘This is a scandal’, Labor MP says
It was Premier Steven Marshall who revealed the repayment by Mr Pederick – and similar repayments by two other MPs, Nick McBride and Peter Treloar – in Parliament on July 28.
Opposition MP Tom Koutsantonis described the admission as a scandal.
However, he did not call for the government to take any particular action as a result.
South Australia’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption already stated last October that she had not seen any evidence of wrongdoing by Mr Pederick.
It remains to be seen whether voters will care about the issue at the next state election, due on March 19 of next year.
Mr Pederick has already been confirmed as the Liberal candidate for Hammond, and will be hoping to win a fifth term in Parliament.