"Following the conclusion of a detailed police investigation which has exonerated me, I am now able to present the facts relating to my imprest travel account.
"In late 1989, as Minister for Education, I was invited by the British Council to visit London. I also planned to visit other European countries in a four-week trip from February 24 to March 25, 1990.
"The former Premier approved the trip and the payment of $5,000 from my imprest account to cover travel and accommodation expenses.
"This was paid to me and banked in the normal way on February 2, 1990, three weeks before I was due to leave.
"It is well documented that those three weeks turned out to be quite extraordinary. A chain of events led to my election as Premier on February 12.
"As a result of my new position, the arrangements for the trip were cancelled. I was not involved in the detail of this; it was handled by staff at the Ministry of Education. I was preoccupied with the transition to, and demands of, the office of Premier.
"In the circumstances I overlooked the imprest funds which had been advanced to me.
"I would also add that since becoming Premier, I have not used my imprest account at all and before June this year I was not given any information about the balance of the account.
"In June, following publicity about the use of the imprest system, I instructed the Department of Premier to provide all Members of Parliament with a summary of transactions on their imprest accounts.
"On July 2, I was provided with a summary of my own imprest expenditure since my election to Parliament.
"For the first time I became aware that the travel funds had not been repaid. I repaid them immediately.
"The matter was subsequently examined in great detail by police in the course of their inquiry into the imprest accounts of all MPs.
"Naturally, I co-operated fully with the inquiry and made available all my personal banking and financial records.
"I have been advised today by the Commissioner of Police that the inquiry has been completed. I have been exonerated and the Commissioner is satisfied that no further action is required. His position has been supported by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
"On the general issue of the imprest system, I wrote to all Members of Parliament last December about the use of the system.
"The letter said in part: In my view there is no principle which militates against detailed public disclosure of the costs, destinations and purposes of imprest travel, and indeed I am strongly in favour of it.
"In the same letter I raised the possibility that the system as a whole needed reviewing.
"My own recent experience has highlighted one of the short-comings of the current system - the fact that there are no regular reconciliations of imprest accounts. There obviously needs to be regular checks of these accounts.
"I intend to pursue proposals which will ensure that the imprest system meets the need of all Members of Parliament and public demands for openness and accountability."