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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 2 Hansard (29 February) . . Page.. 453..


MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (10.41), in reply: Mr Speaker, this reference to the Public Accounts Committee arose out of the misuse of the documents of the previous Government.

Mr Humphries: That is not true.

MS FOLLETT: I am afraid that it is true, and Mr Humphries was obliged to apologise as a result of that. That is a matter of public record. Mr Speaker, the Government's response to the Public Accounts Committee's report has been the subject of further debate in the Public Accounts Committee. I might just comment that the Government's response has, to a certain extent, reopened this issue within the Public Accounts Committee. In particular, the Public Accounts Committee has been somewhat concerned over the Government's stated view that deliberative documents should be defined only as Cabinet documents, and the committee is considering the issue a little bit further. We still have some questions to ask about the Government's response. I believe that the committee will be reporting further on the issue. I think it is fair to say, Mr Speaker, for my own part, and certainly Mr Kaine's part, as also a former leader of a government, that there has been concern in the committee over the role of Cabinet and the role of deliberative documents generally in a Westminster style of parliament and of government. Whilst the PAC has reported and the Government has responded, I do not believe that the matter is yet concluded, and the committee still has some issues which it is exploring; so I say to the Government: Expect another report in due course.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement under standing order 46.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, proceed.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, it was suggested by the Leader of the Opposition in her remarks a moment ago that documents that related to the former Government had been misused by this Government and that I had apologised to the house for having done so. I think Ms Follett should check the record. I believe that what I apologised to the house for doing was misleading it slightly in respect of the origin of the documents. I believe that that is what the issue was. I do not think I have ever indicated that the documents were obtained inappropriately. I will check the record. I have not had an opportunity to do so in the last couple of minutes, but that is my firm recollection.

Mr De Domenico: They were not forged documents.

MR HUMPHRIES: They were not forged documents either; they were real documents, Mr Speaker. That is my recollection and I will check that; but I do not accept that I apologised for having misused documents of a previous government.

Ms Follett: Misleading is not misusing? Using them to mislead?

MR HUMPHRIES: No, it is not.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


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