Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 2458..
MR SPEAKER: You may seek leave to make a personal explanation at the end of question time, if you wish. It will be granted.
Mr Quinlan: Wait a minute. Before I comply with your ruling rather than move dissent from it, I seek your guidance. If a member stands in this place and deliberately misleads, am I not entitled to say that he is misleading? If he is misusing figures, if he is using figures that are extraordinary items-
MR SPEAKER: I do not want you to debate it. You may make a personal explanation at the end of question time. You know I am always generous about those things.
Mr Quinlan: I withdraw, then, Mr Speaker. Thank you for your indulgence.
MR HUMPHRIES: We had an operating loss, as determined by the Auditor-General, of $344 million. I have offered Mr Quinlan access to the books to determine whether or not the theory which he has put out that in some way the books have been cooked, which I think is the implication, can be verified. Mr Quinlan has now received a large amount of information, and more is on its way.
Treasury departmental officials are now wasting what otherwise would be regarded as valuable community resources fishing out documents to satisfy Mr Quinlan's freedom of information request. Nonetheless, I think we all want to get to the bottom of this issue, so I am happy to provide that information.
I make a further offer to Mr Quinlan. Having the information on the table is one thing. Having it assessed is quite another. I am very happy for Mr Quinlan's claim that either the books have been cooked or the loss is not in fact $344 million to be tested by an independent firm of accountants in the ACT. Choose one of the major firms of accountants, and we will refer the issue to them and ask them to judge the matter as the Auditor-General has already judged it. I hope that if we are prepared to go to that extent Mr Quinlan will accept that both the Auditor-General and X major firm of accountants in the ACT cannot be wrong.
It is a mystery to me why in any case Mr Quinlan wants to bear so much personal responsibility for the financial blunders of his ALP forebears in this place. Nonetheless, he obviously does, and we will make sure the issue is properly ventilated.
I stand by that figure. I believe that proper verification will prove that the figure is right. I am prepared to apologise if I am wrong. I hope Mr Quinlan will be prepared to do the same.
MR CORBELL: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services. The minister has previously supplied information to the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Services in relation to its inquiry into the Gungahlin Drive extension that the eastern option for the John Dedman Parkway was 41/2 kilometres in length, whereas the western option was 4.2 kilometres. Documents obtained under freedom of information legislation by the Save the Ridge organisation have now revealed that the eastern option is actually 5.1 kilometres in length. As a result, the western option for the