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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 4 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1187..

MS BURCH: No, certainly the detail of the correspondence—and I have had a look at the FOI myself—was not provided directly to me. But I stand by my appointment of Jorian Gardner. He ran the Fringe Festival from 2003 through to 2008. It was a success. I invited him to come back and have artistic directorship of the 2014 Fringe Festival, which he did. I was very clear about having a very clear-type contract, because he has not had a formal contract himself or a grant in this manner before. He has been paid as an artistic director but there was not a grant in this manner. So I was very clear that we have very clear accountabilities in there, what was to be delivered, when he was to deliver that. That is on the public record. That was put in place and that has been acquitted.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Minister, is it because of your directorate's reluctance in relation to Mr Gardner that you appointed him yourself?

MS BURCH: Sorry; I just did not hear the first part.

MRS JONES: Is it because of your directorate's reluctance in relation to Mr Gardner that you appointed him yourself?

MS BURCH: I would say no. I have said in this place that Jorian is not without his reputation. I think I have described him as a colourful character. But that is fine. To run a fringe festival, one would think that you wanted a colourful character. I do not think there is crime in being a colourful character. Indeed, if everyone has a right to be a bigot, I think Mr Jorian Gardner has a right to be a colourful character.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, did your directorate raise concerns with you about the appointment of Mr Gardner?

MS BURCH: Not in the direct sense, but certainly there was—

Opposition members interjecting—

MS BURCH: I was aware that we needed to have a very firm contract, a very firm performance management and time line around where the program will come in and when the acquittal will be made. Those arrangements were put into place. At the end of the day, we have done so. If you want to continue on this, just look at the reality. We had a $20,000 grant made and it has been acquitted. We had a successful Fringe Festival and an extremely successful National Multicultural Festival. I think that is a good outcome. If you want to continue chasing this, you can go all you like, but I will stand by that arrangement. It was fine, it was appropriate and it delivered what this city was satisfied with.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

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