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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 2006) . . Page.. 3042 ..

MR SPEAKER: I do not think I can draw that inference.

Mrs Dunne: That is what he said. The Chief Minister said that questions were misleading. That implies that the questioner was misleading. And seeing that it was in here, the question was misleading the Assembly. It should be withdrawn.

MR SPEAKER: That is being a bit oversensitive. Chief Minister, continue. Mrs Dunne, that is not a point of order.

MR STANHOPE: Yesterday during question time in the Assembly I responded to questions that I perceived to be designed to misleadingly draw a nexus between adverse findings made by the Auditor-General in relation to management failings in Rhodium and the shareholders. That is what the questions were designed to achieve.

Questions today have been designed to achieve the same end. The questions have been designed to jump from the day-to-day management of Rhodium—straight over the top of the board and the chairman—to the shareholders. Why are the questions designed in this way? Why are the questions designed to take this leap from actions within Rhodium such as inappropriate use of credit cards by staff at Rhodium? Why are the questions designed to jump from that behaviour—as reported in the Auditor-General’s report—over the top of the board, which has statutory responsibility for the day-to-day management of the corporation, to the shareholders?

The answer is simple and understandable: because I am here and they are not. And you have to get past me to get to this side of the chamber. Of course, this is just part of the political argy-bargy, part of the political to-and-fro, part of the game around “how can we get through a damaging report in relation to the management of an independently managed statutory corporation to the Chief Minister?” You do it by drawing all sorts of conclusions that are not substantiated by facts which are not included in the report. Not even within the report, anywhere, is there is a single suggestion, or innuendo even, that any of the actions—the subject of the audit report—occurred as a result of actions that the shareholders may or may not have taken.

We now have this bizarre suggestion that the Liberal Party would put abroad that the fact that an officer of a statutory corporation, independently managed by an independent board of directors, not subject to direction by the shareholders—

Mr Smyth: Page 32.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Smyth, I have almost pleaded with you not to interject. You are on a warning.

MR STANHOPE: This scenario now being sought to be painted is that, because there were most worrying breaches of standard in relation to the use, for instance, of corporate credit cards, somehow a minister, a shareholder, would have some responsibility for the fact that an employee of an independently managed statutory corporation behaved in an inappropriate way. It is a bit like asking the collective Liberal Party office to accept responsibility for the fact that Mr Stefaniak broke the law when he drove his car with his telephone to his ear. Was that your responsibility?

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