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Now to the story...

Clark pays for Palm Island airfares

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 20 December 2004

Queensland Indigenous Policy Minister Liddy Clark has gone on holiday after paying a controversial bill for two Aboriginal leaders.

The Opposition has referred the so-called 'airfare affair' to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC).

The fares to Palm Island last week were booked by the Government, but the Minister said Murrandoo Yanner and Brad Foster would pay for them.

Mr Yanner says the Government promised to pay and tried to cover that up.

Ms Clark has now decided to pay the bill of almost $1,800 herself, before she leaves for four weeks holiday.

The Opposition says that is an admission of guilt.

Acting leader Jeff Seeney is suspicious about the holiday.

"I think she was either ordered to disappear or she couldn't stand the pressure and ran for cover," he said.

Premier Peter Beattie is standing by his minister.

"Is anyone really going to take seriously what Murrandoo Yanner says? I'm not," Mr Beattie said.

The Premier says the Opposition should refund the CMC for a frivolous complaint.

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