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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4410..


MR QUINLAN (continuing):

done, a price tag is put on the problem. So the problem has been known to you guys specifically for a couple of years at least-21/2 years or something like that.

Mr Humphries: Can you prove that?

MR QUINLAN: You asked me what I think I know. I qualified that. This is my-

Mr Humphries: Table the document and we will see.

Mr Wood: Your ministers didn't pay attention to it.

Mr Humphries: We asked what was there. Show us what was tabled for us. You have the documents.

MR QUINLAN: What we got this year was not just that there was a problem, because there was a problem known to the portfolio minister at least, not particularly known to me. But then, as sometimes these things do happen while you are doing other things, the meter is on $10 million and there is a letter from the Government Solicitor that says, "If you don't do something about this, you are liable."

Mr Wood: May be liable.

MR QUINLAN: Yes, we may be liable. So you have now a dual problem. From a practical point of view, you have a dual problem-or a triple problem. You have the problem to fix.

Mr Humphries: Why breach the law?

MR QUINLAN: That wasn't the question, was it? Do you want to ask that question?

Mr Humphries: I will ask it, if you like.

MR QUINLAN: You have burned your question, you fool. I withdraw that. You have the tripled-headed problem of the practical problem that needs to be fixed, you have the moral obligation to fix it and you also have to make the commitment and be in a position where you could say in a court of law that you had taken whatever action was necessary and hence there is a rationale to make a full commitment to address that problem based on the opinions received.

When did I know? About the end of May, I think, because, as you know, that was around budget time and there was a lot of work being done, particularly within my portfolio as Treasurer.

MRS DUNNE: I have a supplementary question. Does this mean, Minister, that what was happening was that there were budget bids to do and you actually forgot to do it and put it in the budget, so you misused the Treasurer's Advance?

MR QUINLAN: That one I can't recall.

Mr Smyth: He said earlier that there were budget bids for it.


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