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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3353..


MR SPEAKER: Standing order 241 says:

The evidence taken by any committee and documents presented to and proceedings and reports of the committee shall be strictly confidential and shall not be published or divulged by any member of the committee or by any other person, until the report of the committee has been presented to the Assembly: ...

That is what I wanted to caution you about.

MR QUINLAN: Let me then clarify carefully for your benefit, Mr Speaker. I am sure you have a personal interest in our attempt to make sure we were not part of the conspiracy. Certainly, the terminology of the leak was inconsistent in a few ways with the way the information was presented to my committee, so I do remain relatively confident that the source of that leak was not the committee. It just happened that it was published on the 18th, the day after we advised the Treasurer that we had authorised publication of the transcript.

Operating loss

MRS BURKE: My question is to the Treasurer, Mr Humphries. I refer to the ongoing issue of the $344 million operating loss inherited from the former Labor government. Has the government supplied Mr Quinlan with the documents used to calculate this outcome? Also, has the government received a response from Mr Quinlan concerning the establishment of another independent audit of the outcome for the 1995-96 financial year?

MR HUMPHRIES: It appears that confidentiality is more or less going out the window today, so perhaps some correspondence between me and Mr Quinlan might be quite appropriate in these circumstances. Mr Quinlan has, as you know, quite a bee in his bonnet about the $344 million operating loss which was left to the Liberal government by the former Labor government.

Mr Quinlan certainly has sought information about that. He has sought information particularly, and I will indicate what it is he has asked me for, on all documents pertaining to the preparation and completion of the territory's consolidated annual report for the 1995-96 financial year and all correspondence to and from the Auditor-General in relation to the 1995-96 financial statements from the time it was decided to prepare them.

A couple of weeks ago, my officers delivered to Mr Quinlan's office the information he required. Several thousand pages of documents bundled up in folders were delivered to Mr Quinlan's office. He has the information there in front of him, so he can start to beaver away on this issue of, obviously, great importance to him.

Yesterday, I received a letter from Mr Quinlan agreeing to the conduct of an independent audit of the $344 million operating loss incurred in 1995-96, and for that I thank him. I am very glad to have confirmation that he will get independent verification of that matter. Unfortunately, the letter is not entirely free of qualification. He says in his letter:


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