26 Apr 2010

Journalist steps down over financial irregularities

1:20 pm on 26 April 2010

A senior member of Parliament's Press Gallery has stepped down as the body's Treasurer after financial irregularities.

An independent auditor is being called in to examine the books of the Press Gallery, which comprises all the journalists accredited to cover Parliament.

After inquiries by the Press Gallery executive, Treasurer Ian Llewellyn told it he had been using its funds incorrectly for personal use.

Mr Llewellyn says he used the money because he was in financial difficulty and that some repayments had been made. He acknowledged that his behaviour was unacceptable.

In a joint statement, Press Gallery chairwoman Jane Patterson and deputy Vernon Small say they are extremely disappointed at the breach of trust by a long-standing office holder and colleague.

It is not yet clear how much was misused or how much has been repaid.

Ms Patterson says that, given the watchdog role the Press Gallery plays, it intends to handle the matter as openly as possible and intends to seek advice from police.