Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4783..
MR OSBORNE (5.47): I spoke earlier today about the Burbidge report. There is one thing that I would just like to add before we leave. I spoke about the role of the former Prime Minister, Mr Hawke. I would just like to say a little on that involvement and remind Mr Hawke that he participated in a venture which Mr Burbidge found was founded on fraud. I assume Mr Hawke received money from the government payout. However, I might add that Mr Burbidge did say that Mr Hawke was not knowingly involved. I think it is in his best interests to consider how this money was received from the ratepayers of the ACT. Given that Mr Burbidge has found that it was received by way of a fraud, he should return it. That is a matter for his conscience.
MR WHITECROSS (5.48): Earlier in the adjournment debate Mrs Littlewood criticised me and other members from this side for asking questions at question time. No doubt, Mrs Littlewood would be happy if the Opposition never asked questions at question time; particularly, difficult questions of Government Ministers. Mrs Littlewood needs to understand that is the Opposition's job, and we will continue to ask difficult questions which we believe are in the public interest, because we believe it is our responsibility, as elected members of this place, to keep the Government accountable.
It is interesting that Mrs Littlewood, in her comments today, said that we asked questions about things which most probably were not even the case - "most probably", according to Mrs Littlewood. Even Mrs Littlewood has an element of doubt in her own mind about the circumstances. Given the contradictory reports we have seen in the media over the last couple of days about Mrs Carnell's motor vehicle accident, it is hardly surprising that members on this side of the house, on a matter of clear public interest, should seek to ask some questions to clarify the circumstances leading up to and subsequent to the accident that occurred.
Mr Humphries: You are sitting in the mud pool and hurling mud; that is all you are doing, Mr Whitecross. You are just hurling mud because you have no substance to back it up.
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MR WHITECROSS: Mr Humphries interjects, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Whitecross has the floor.
MR WHITECROSS: Mr Humphries interjects; and I am not surprised that he interjects because he knows that he is on an embarrassingly thin thread in trying to defend his conduct today. Mr Humphries has been arguing today that this is a matter of no public interest and has nothing to do with Mrs Carnell's responsibility as a Minister. Again and again, Mr Humphries got up in question time and argued that.