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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 258..


MR KAINE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Birthdays are always worth a couple of brownie points. Mr Speaker, my question concerns the so-called free fun day to be staged at Bruce Stadium this coming Sunday, about which I know something because I have seen the ads that have been running on commercial television, and I have seen a rather breathless media release put out from the Canberra Tourism and Events Corporation. I can only assume that this is just another public relations stunt, at what I suspect will be considerable public expense, to try to restore the damaged reputation of the Chief Minister and the Government over the financial scandal of the Bruce redevelopment. Perhaps it is also intended to try to deflect public attention away from the Auditor-General's report on Bruce Stadium which is now imminent. If the Chief Minister does not have the information at hand, I will be happy to receive it by close of business today. My question is this: What is the projected total cost of this public relations stunt at Bruce Stadium, and what are the names of individuals who are being paid to appear at this event to lend it some semblance of credibility?

MS CARNELL: Obviously I will have to take that question on notice. It is not something that I or anybody in my direct office has been involved in organising. I think an open day at Bruce Stadium is something that the Canberra community will want to go along to see because they want to see what a great stadium it is and what a great benefit it is to the Canberra community. It is a major public asset.

Places like Canberra Hospital have open days. Parts of Urban Services and so on operate open days. We have open days at our schools and places like the CIT and so on to give the community an opportunity to see those facilities. They are very much part of the way we operate in government. Whether it is an open day at Canberra Hospital or at the CIT, they come - - -

Mr Smyth: The bus rodeo, ACTION.

MS CARNELL: Yes, ACTION buses. They come at an expense, I suppose. There is some expense in opening these facilities on weekends, but I have to say they have been very successful in all sorts of areas of government or of public assets, and I believe this is something that we should continue to do. It gives people an opportunity to come along at no cost and have a look at our public assets, to have a look at how they work, and to have a look at the facilities that we have that, let us be fair, they paid for. I am surprised that Mr Kaine would not be positive about allowing the Canberra community to have a look at Bruce Stadium, something that just this week the International Olympic Committee said had a surface equivalent to Wembley, which cost more than $34m.

MR KAINE: As expected, the Chief Minister gave a very good answer, but she did not answer the question. I can only assume that she is taking my question on notice. While she is considering my question on notice, would she also look at some other aspects? I know that Mrs Carnell would never approve of the despicable practice of cash for comment by people who earn all or part of their income as media commentators, so will the Chief Minister guarantee that no taxpayers funds are being paid to individuals in return for favourable comment? Will she also table, on a confidential basis if that is her wish, the contracts of any individuals being paid to appear at Bruce Stadium on Sunday?


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