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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2413..


Mr Pat Torpy-Retirement

Cabinet documents

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (10.16): Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Labor Party, I would like very much to extend best wishes to Pat Torpy We will all miss you, Pat. I will particularly miss our discussions about rugby league and our joint wish to see Ken Nagas again represent Australia. We wish you the best and I look forward to seeing you at the footy.

In addition to wishing Pat the best, I must say something about the events of the last three days. Each of us has quite willingly worked the 45 hours or so that we have spent in this place in the last three days. Similarly, the attendants and other members of the Secretariat of this place have worked for up to 15 hours a day for each of the last three days, making a significant contribution to the running of this institution. I would like to acknowledge the enormous devotion to duty that each of the attendants and each of the other members of the Secretariat have shown during particularly difficult weeks such as the one we have just experienced.

I would also like to refer to an issue discussed by the Chief Minister and me today in the debate in relation to the executive papers bill. Mr Humphries suggested, as he has a couple of times over the last week, that the Labor Party had no difficulty with seeking to apply for cabinet documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Mr Humphries and I had some difference of opinion about the nature of the correspondence between us. I have actually brought the correspondence down, on the basis that Mr Humphries' understanding of my freedom of information request was singularly different from my own.

On 6 July 1999, I made application under the Freedom of Information Act for all correspondence and documents, including contracts exchanged between the ACT government and SOCOG, all correspondence and documents relating to the tender by Lend Lease to project manage the redevelopment of Bruce Stadium and all correspondence and documents, including contracts relating to current tenancy arrangements issued with the Raiders, the Brumbies and the Cosmos, for the use of the Bruce Stadium. Out of that request under the Freedom of Information Act, Mr Humphries has concocted a request by me for cabinet documents relating to Bruce Stadium. I do not know how he did it and I do not know why he did it, but quite patently he was wrong, he was simply mistaken, and I look forward to him coming into this place and explaining why it was that he misled us in the way that he did in relation to the exchange of correspondence between us and my Freedom of Information Act application for documents.

We have had an exchange of correspondence. The last letter I received from Mr Humphries was in January of this year. Mr Humphries indicated today that he was still awaiting a response from me. In fact, I responded to his letter on 26 February, and it did relate to this issue of cabinet documents. Mr Humphries in his letter wrote to me setting out some guidelines to be followed in relation to the possible release of cabinet documents under the Freedom of Information Act. As I said, I thought the letter was bizarre at the time I received it. This is my reply.


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