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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1104..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

release the budget documentation on the Bruce Stadium budget cabinet meetings, and it is the basis on which of course we will refuse to release them today.

These are budget cabinet documents and the basis on which they are treated by this cabinet and this government is precisely and exactly the same as the basis on which you responded to previous requests by then oppositions to release the budget cabinet documents on budget cabinet deliberations and documentation on which you, Mr Smyth, and you, Mr Stefaniak, were each involved.

Mr Smyth: Are you sure?

MR STANHOPE: Yes, absolutely—and on documents on Hall/Kinlyside and many other issues of some notable public interest that are a hallmark of the Liberal Party in government in this place. But Mr Smyth, in quoting Professor Bartos, glossed over those bits which were perhaps inconvenient to his argument or which perhaps reflected on him personally. They actually named him personally. But Professor Bartos leads off essentially by saying:

Not everything a government does can be open to scrutiny.

Then he goes on to say:

... budget information is best kept under wraps.

He actually says that. These are the issues that Mr Smyth did not go to in his speech. Professor Bartos then goes on to say:

Reports on government functions particularly, if like this one, they are aimed at helping a government find savings in a tight budget, will frequently contain sentences or whole paragraphs that if taken out of context ...

Let us dwell on things taken out of context by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday in relation to statements on the functional review, and repeated in all their glory by the Canberra Times today. Let us look and wonder at just how prescient Professor Bartos was. I cannot believe he would have thought that, within a day of writing his article, we would have seen that most outrageous—not beaten up but outrageous—reporting of statements that are simply false. These things, if taken out of context, Professor Bartos says, can be beaten up to alarm or annoy the electorate.

It is interesting, is it not, to reflect that this was written on Tuesday. Then in Wednesday's paper, look what we see on the front page in the context of what Professor Bartos said: statements that if taken out of context can be beaten up to alarm or annoy the electorate. Have we not seen that in taws today from the Leader of the Opposition in the way in which he has just grievously misstated, misled or made statements that simply do not bear any comparison with the truth? It is awful being personal about these things, but I ask Mr Smyth whether he might reflect on that rather gratuitous throwaway line of Professor Bartos's:

Non-publication of the report has created unlikely bedfellows. Non-disclosure has given a free kick to Brendan Smyth, an Opposition Leader who sometimes finds it difficult to gain traction on issues.


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