President of the Legislative Council in the South Australian Parliament, Liberal, Terry Stephens has maintained no wrong doing in claiming living and travelling allowances.
He has also received support from Member for Finniss, David Basham.
Mr Stephens has been under scrutiny since Sunday, following an ABC report that raised questions on his actual residential address, which he states is in Victor Harbor.
Mr Stephen's residential address is listed at the Breeze Apartments on Flinders Parade, while he also maintains a townhouse in Norwood.
The Legislative Council Country Members' Accommodation Allowance is for Members who reside more than 75 kilometres from the GPO in Adelaide and are required to stay in Adelaide overnight to attend to not only Parliamentary duties, but also for the Member's duty to be actively involved in community affairs and to represent and assist constituents in dealing with governmental and other public agencies and authorities.
Country Members are eligible to access an allowance of $234 per night, up to a maximum of $31,590 in a 12 month period.
The South Australian Remuneration Tribunal determines the allowance, which is formally Gazetted.
In 2019/20 (to May 31), Mr Stephens claimed $29,484, for a total of 126 nights.
In 2018/19, he claimed a $31,050 allowance for 135 nights.
Following scrutiny, Mr Stephens approved the release of these figures and the total claims made by Members during the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 financial years.
"The Auditor-General has oversight of payments of the Country Members' Allowance and if ever required by the Auditor-General I would willingly co-operate and provide details to substantiate my personal compliance with the rules," Mr Stephens said.
"While it has never been the practice of previous governments and Parliaments to release this information with respect to Country Members, I have taken the decision to release this information.
"My principal place of residence is Victor Harbor and at all times during that period I have complied with the rules in respect of accessing the Country Members' Allowance.
"Since 2011, I have lived in an apartment in Victor Harbor.
"From 2010 to 2017, I lived in an apartment that I owned and from 2017 to the current day, I live in an apartment in the same complex which I lease.
"As a Member of the Legislative Council, my electorate office is in Parliament House."
However, when questioned by The Times if it was it true that Mr Stephens was not subject to land tax at his property in Norwood and if not paying land tax at the Norwood property, then would that then be his principal address, not Victor Harbor, there was no comment.
"Terry Stephens MLC, will not be responding to any questions nor providing any further comment. Any further release of information I expect will come in the form of a statement from Mr Stephens," the reply by Mr Stephens' office..
Mr Stephens said the significant volume of Standing Committee meetings, Select Committee meetings, constituent meetings, stakeholder meetings and events that are part of a Member of the Legislative Council's work has meant that he was often required to be in Adelaide when Parliament was not sitting.
"Having recently been elected as President of the Legislative Council in February this year, much of my time is spent at Parliament House ensuring the Parliament operates effectively, in conjunction with the Speaker of the House of Assembly," Mr Stephens said.
Member for Finniss David Basham has offered support for Mr Stephens, telling The Times he believes he is following regulations.
"I believe he is doing everything correctly and going by the rules," Mr Basham said.
"I ran into Terry [Mr Stephens] at the Yilki Store on Sunday, so he is certainly in Victor Harbor."
Country Members' Accommodation Allowance figures released by Mr Stephens show that Mr Basham, who resides in Victor Harbor, claimed $10,296 for 44 nights in 2019/20 and $13,800 for 60 nights in 2018/19.