Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2233..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
The reality was that the way the transaction was carried out was not in line with legislation. We do not in any way support that approach. When it came to our attention that it was not the case, we immediately instituted a review of not just that area but all areas that handle these sorts of matters to ensure that they were operating in line with appropriate administrative approaches. It is that simple.
MR QUINLAN: I have a supplementary question. Chief Minister, I am still at a bit of a loss. Can a middle-level public servant spend the best part of $10 million in lumps of up to $3 million without a higher authority and can a middle-level public servant negotiate an overnight loan, a daylight loan, without higher authority in your administration?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I have already made it really clear on this one that cabinet made a decision.
Mr Quinlan: Usually, when you say that you have not.
MS CARNELL: Okay, I will try to be really simple for you. Cabinet made a decision. Cabinet had a right to believe that decision would be implemented inside legislation, and it could have been. The reality is that the public servant who handles these sorts of transactions every day did so without the benefit of a guideline that was required under the piece of legislation that he or she was operating under.
He or she managed these sorts of transactions regularly and believed that he or she was doing so in line with legislation. As I said yesterday, there is no indication that the person involved did so with any malice or any view that the person was not doing the right thing because he or she followed the same sort of approach as he or she had done previously. The reality was that the guideline had not been issued, was not on file, and therefore the transaction was not in line with the appropriate piece of legislation.
Mr Quinlan: Does this include the overnight loan?
MS CARNELL: This is exactly what I am talking about here. The reality is that it was not in line with legislation. When it was determined that it was not in line with legislation, the government put in place a full review of the area to ensure that these sorts of approaches were not-
Mr Quinlan: A middle-level public servant takes out a $10 million loan.
MR SPEAKER: Order! You have asked your question. Stop interjecting.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I am trying really hard here to be very simple for Mr Quinlan. The fact is that this issue did come to cabinet, cabinet did make a decision, and cabinet has a right to believe its decisions will be carried out in line with the law.
MR HIRD: My question is to the Treasurer, Mr Humphries, and relates to the 2000-01 budget, which is a good budget. I refer the Treasurer to the following comment by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Stanhope, on ABC radio: