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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1474..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

But several sources close to the discussions last week told The Canberra Times that Mr Costello had canvassed a deficit of up to $390 million.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts): I seek leave to respond.

MR SPEAKER: The Chief Minister may proceed.

MR STANHOPE: Everybody knows that it was Mr Smyth that began this false rumour. On the very same front page—and I invite the opposition to table it—in the column adjacent to the paragraph from which he just quoted, there is a reference by the Canberra Times to the $390 million deficit. It is there in writing. I do not remember the exact words, but is it to the effect "the $390 million deficit according to Mr Smyth". That is the reference in the story; it is there in the Canberra Times.

The Canberra Times protected themselves, and I admire them to that extent. They probably thought, "Ah, well, we have got a good story here, but it does sound a bit smelly; we had better just cover ourselves."It is on the very same front page, in the column next to the paragraph just quoted by Mr Smyth as he seeks now, having been caught out in this absolute fabrication, to shift responsibility to the Canberra Times journalist.

I stand and defend the Canberra Times journalist's inclusion in a table adjacent to the paragraph just quoted by Mr Smyth, which he did not refer to, a statement to the effect "$390 million deficit as claimed by Mr Smyth". This is your fabrication, Mr Smyth. This is your hysteria. You gave this information and advice, crossed your heart and swore it was true, to the Canberra Times. Do not try now to stand in this place and deflect responsibility for your own hysterical fabrication to a Canberra Times journalist.

Be man enough to stand up and own your own mistakes. Do not stand in here and say this story came from the Canberra Times. This is your outrageous fabrication. You own it. Do not sheet this home to anybody else.

District of Dili

Debate resumed.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (3.36): The opposition rises to support this particular motion. It is almost like a motherhood statement. There is little to be said and there is little to be thought as to why you would not support this. This is an issue which goes to the heart of the country's interests and the community's interests as well. The opposition certainly supports the city of Canberra friendship relationship with the district of Dili. We have been to a number of their fundraising activities. It is quite a useful organisation. An extension of the friendship and support by Australia to Timor is an extension of Australian's national interest and its concerns about Timor and Timor's future.

Against the background of that relationship, education programs are important. Tuggeranong College, the CIT and high schools have roles and involvements in


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