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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 2421..

Budget—Treasurer's advance

MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, in this year's budget, $29.2 million will be appropriated for the Treasurer's advance. Treasurer, the statement that you tabled in the Assembly recently on the use of the Treasurer's advance during 2006-07 did not contain any details on those requests that had been made and rejected for Treasurer's advance.

Treasurer, given your clear commitment to openness and accountability, why do we not have any details of requests for the Treasurer's advance that have been rejected?

MR STANHOPE: I must say it is not a question I have ever given consideration to in the context of reasons for or against it. It is not something I have given active consideration to. I would imagine that the practice that has been followed since I have been Treasurer is the historical practice, the practice that I assume was followed by my predecessor and, indeed, by the previous government.

To the extent that the question suggests that the government is seeking to cover up any particular information or is disinclined to be transparent, let me assure members that no active decision has been taken, such as "we will not reveal that particular information".

It does, of course, beg the question: what information about decisions that you have not taken are you not providing? It really is quite remarkable. It is tantamount to actually standing up and asking, "Minister, in the context of the last week, I see reported 20 decisions you have made. Could you tell us how many decisions you have not made or how many pieces of advice you were proffered which you chose not to receive or to accept?"It becomes a nonsense.

The question is: Treasurer, you have reported on all the Treasurer's advances that you have made in the last financial year, but you did not report on the Treasurer's advances you did not make. Will you now report on the decisions that you did not take?

You could stand and ask any minister at any time: minister, you announced today a decision to do such and such; could you please inform the Assembly which decisions you did not take today? Really, it is a nonsense. To suggest that the government should now report or to provide the Assembly with reports on the decisions that it did not take I think is perhaps extending this into an area of accountability or decision making or an apparent transparency that would lead us to quite absurd results.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Mulcahy with a supplementary question.

MR MULCAHY: I will make it easy for the Treasurer. Treasurer, how many requests for Treasurer's advance were declined in 2006-07, and what was their monetary value?

MR STANHOPE: I do not know the answer to that question. Certainly I am happy to take advice. I presume that this is information that, with some research, we could

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