Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2268..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
have got to spend time this evening responding to a total and complete misunderstanding by Mr Seselja of the documents he was provided and of the issue.
It is the case, as I said, that the quote that he referred to from an officer—I am not sure in which department, I think perhaps TAMS—refers to advice by Mr Manikis which does not exist. It may be that there was a conversation between officers. The officer involved—and I informed estimates of this—Mr Nic Manikis, has given a written statement that at no stage did he ever provide advice to me or to the government about the suitability or otherwise of Kama. An officer refers to advice in an ambiguous sense that suggests to Mr Seselja and those who refuse to listen that such advice was given. That officer is prepared to say, in a statutory declaration if required, that that was her understanding of what Mr Manikis was saying, but she never saw any such advice and she has no reason to believe that such advice to government exists.
One of the two officers concerned has already given a written statement, which I have provided to estimates and which Mr Seselja chooses to ignore, essentially suggesting that Mr Manikis is lying about what he did or not did do. I have asked, as a result of the concern of the opposition in relation to this matter, every chief executive in the ACT government service for their clarification of the issue and for them to reveal to me any advice within their agency which could, in any sense, be described as advice to the government about the unsuitability of Kama. Not a single agency head or ACT government agency, despite a thorough search, has been able to find a single piece of written evidence or documentation from Nic Manikis or anybody else which suggests to the government that this site was not suitable. Mr Seselja now makes a great deal of the fact that the government refuses to provide this advice. Do you know why this advice has not been provided under the Freedom of Information Act or pursuant to the request of the committee? Because it does not exist. That is the view and the advice to me of every single chief executive within the ACT government.
It is a dreadful conspiracy. The answer is simple. The reason, Mr Seselja, why the advice was not provided to you under the Freedom of Information Act or pursuant to a direction or a request, which in fact I took on notice—another little issue that you need to clarify in your constant, regular misleads in this—is when requested by the committee to provide the information—
MR SPEAKER: Order! Withdraw that.
MR STANHOPE: I will withdraw that and we will deal with it in the censure motion. We will be; unfortunately, we will be. There is no such advice. It does not exist. I can get as many statutory declarations from as many ACT public servants as you like. You can appeal under the Freedom of Information Act; you can take it to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. There is no such advice. It does not exist. The committee was told it does not exist. It was not released or revealed under the Freedom of Information Act; it simply does not exist. You are wrong. You made a mistake in your assumption—you got it wrong.
So these wild allegations, these suggestions that there are fraudulent documents or fraudulent statements, this attributing to me motives about my behaviour are based on a falsehood, a false understanding, a refusal to accept advice given to the committee