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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 4579..

Chronicle - Advertising Supplement

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, yesterday, in answer to a question about the government-funded political advertisement in this week's Canberra Chronicle, you said:

Again, I have not actually read the article. This is not advertising ... These are excerpts from the annual report. They are for the information of the people of Canberra, and it is information that is contained in the annual report ...

Chief Minister, the government-funded political advertisement has, in the top right-hand corner, "Advertising Supplement". It is quite clear. There is no dispute about that, I expect. Will you now apologise to this Assembly for misleading it, as your deputy was forced to do yesterday?

MRS CARNELL: If you are getting this desperate for a question, I am really surprised. I am very happy to answer that. I said that it was not advertising. I went on to say, if you remember, "meaning that it is not selling anything", Mr Wood. I understand that, if something is not editorial and is written by somebody who is paying for it, it actually has to have "Advertisement" up at the top. I am quite happy to say that, in strict terms, obviously, this is an advertisement; but it is not selling anything. Mr Speaker, it is not government-funded political advertising at all. There is not the name of an MLA, including me, anywhere in this whole publication.

Mr Speaker, as I said, I had not read it, let alone proofread it, and I had not been asked what I thought should go in it. As I said yesterday, I had been asked whether I had any objection to the hospital going ahead with this approach, because the board of the hospital was very keen to do so, on the recommendation of Mr Johnston. I also said yesterday that Brian Johnston has used this approach in other hospitals of which he has been CEO, because he believes very strongly that it is important that the community appreciates the service that is available at the Canberra Hospital.

Mr Speaker, in answer to another question asked of me yesterday, I think by Mr Osborne, I spoke about our customer commitment approach that we have taken in government. Mr Speaker, this sort of approach that Health and Community Care has taken is very much down that path. It is to get information that people need to know about out to the community. Mr Speaker, I do not know whether anybody remembers this publication. Let me remind those opposite, who could be, at times, regarded as a tiny bit hypocritical, that this publication, A Guide to ACT Government Services, went out four weeks before the last election. It cost, from memory, $55,000. Remember, Mr Speaker, that the supplement does not have the name of any MLA or any Government member in it. But this document has, right on the front page, "Rosemary Follett, David Lamont, Bill Wood" - right there, Mr Speaker.

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