Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 315..
Mr Hargreaves: I seek clarification because I think it needs it for guidance going forward. Mr Seselja just said that this was another falsehood perpetuated, blah, blah, blah. I am interested in knowing whether or not to be able to say somebody perpetrated a falsehood is in fact parliamentary or unparliamentary. I would like a ruling on that, if you would not mind.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. I guess the baseline would be that it is unparliamentary to say that somebody is lying, but you can actually say "falsehood"or "mislead". Those are not unparliamentary terms.
Mr Hargreaves: On your response, I understand that to say "falsehood"is okay; I understand that ruling. But you did say then that it was okay to say "mislead". I would have thought that to use "mislead"it would have to be in a substantive motion.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: It really is on a case by case basis, Mr Hargreaves, in the debate—on the tone of voice and the way that it is presented in the context—so I will allow it at this time, but we will keep an eye on the language as we go forward. Thank you, Mr Hargreaves.
MR SESELJA: So Ms Gallagher was not telling the truth, and we can argue about whether we call it falsehood or perpetuating a fraud, deceiving the community. However you want to say it, it was not true. It simply was not true, and we have had that time and time again in relation to this project. The government have not been honest. If they had been honest they would have walked away from this project a long time ago, because they would not have been holding on to this fictitious $34.5 million in annual savings. It was a fiction. It was simply put together, plucked out of thin air, in order to try and justify their political case. They came up with this crazy idea to build a $430 million building and then they made up the figures to actually back that up.
We see the inconsistencies time and time again: the A4 piece of paper, the infamous A4 piece of paper, and budget impact statement claimed different elements that contributed to the $19.3 million operational savings. So on one day you have got $19.3 million in operational savings and on another day you have got $19.3 million, but you arrived at them from completely different perspectives. There is no integrity when you are going to put out numbers like that. It goes to undermine the government's case. But, given that they did make that case, despite the fact they have now walked away from it, we need to get to the bottom of why they concocted those figures, how they concocted those figures, why they were perpetuating this untruthful information in the community and in the Assembly and why they were giving this false information on a consistent basis and defending it time and time again.
While we are doing that we should also be examining how much money exactly has been wasted—not just taking the government's word for it. We know that it is millions. The question is: how many millions have actually been wasted on this project? Is it four or five million? Is it 10 million? Is it more? Either way, on a project that blind Freddy could have told you was never going to stack up, these are serious questions. And if we will not inquire into the largest backflip in the territory's history