However, Mr Herbert failed to tell the Parliament exactly how many times the pets were ferried between his house in Parkdale, in Melbourne’s south-east, and his country home at Trentham, north-west of the city, because the trips were not recorded in his drivers’ logbook.

The Corrections Minister said he recalled the dogs travelling without him on the 120-kilometre journey on “one or possibly two occasions”.

“There are no logs so that I cannot give an accurate answer,” he told the Upper House.

Mr Herbert also failed to say how many times he travelled with the dogs in his ministerial car.

“There is no one specific number to that,” he said.

When asked if his three drivers had been questioned about the trips, Mr Herbert said he did not intend to “interrogate” them.

Dogs transported with luggage, paperwork

In a written statement to the Legislative Council, Mr Herbert said there had been a thorough review of his drivers’ records, but “the detail sought has not been recorded and is not reflected in the logs”.

“This response is therefore based on my recollection,” he said.

“On one, or possibly two occasions the driver couriered my dogs unaccompanied, in travel containers at the rear of the vehicle, directly between Parkdale and Trentham when I was not in the car.

“On other occasions when I have travelled to or from my residence, the dogs have also been transported in their travel containers with cargo including luggage, portfolio-related paperwork and other work equipment, consistent with current guidelines.”

Mr Herbert also donated $1,000 to the Pets Haven Foundation animal shelter in Woodend.

Failure to declare Trentham house ‘a slip’

He also described his failure to declare the Trentham house on his register of interests as “an inadvertent slip, certainly not deceptive”.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy said Mr Herbert should resign or be sacked.

“He has also refused to come clean on how many times his dogs were chauffeured around Melbourne to locations other than his two homes and whether he will also repay the cost of those trips.

“If Steve Herbert’s memory is so bad that he can’t remember how many times he has abused his taxpayer-funded car then how is he up to the task of being a minister?”