Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 9 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 3043..
MR SPEAKER: The Chief Minister's time has expired.
MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Chief Minister, as you say that you were aware of responses, why did you criticise the auditor for not providing an opportunity to respond to the report?
MR STANHOPE: I did not. You need to go back to what I said yesterday. What I said was: "Is it being suggested?"
Mrs Burke: You cannot remember. It is that memory thing again.
MR STANHOPE: No. I have actually got it here. I was raising the rhetorical point. It was a rhetorical question. Go back and look at the transcript. "Is it being suggested,"I said—or words to that effect—"that the Auditor-General would make adverse criticisms in the context of the damaging findings included within the report of shareholders without giving the shareholders an opportunity to respond?"—if that were her intention or if that were indeed what she did.
The point is that the Auditor-General did not make adverse findings in relation to the shareholders. Had she made adverse findings, or had she intended to make adverse findings, the rules of natural justice demand that those against whom adverse findings would be made would be availed personally of an opportunity to respond to those adverse findings. That is the fundamental and first and basic rule of natural justice—that anybody against whom an adverse finding of any sort or order is to be made will be given an opportunity to respond.
I was not asked for a response. No other shareholder was asked for a response. Therefore, the logic follows: either there is no adverse comment, which is the case, or, if there was an adverse comment, then the Auditor-General has failed in her duty to ensure that the rules of natural justice were complied with by not providing an opportunity to respond. So what is your interpretation? Was there an adverse finding or was there not? Did the Auditor-General fail in her duty to ensure natural justice was done or did she not? The answer is quite clearly that there is no—
Opposition members interjecting—
MR STANHOPE: You cannot have it both ways. You are now criticising the Auditor-General. That is the point I made yesterday. If there is an adverse finding then the shareholders should have been provided with an opportunity to respond, and they were not. Therefore there is a breach of natural justice. Are you alleging a breach of natural justice? If so, you should apologise immediately.
Rhodium Asset Solutions Ltd
MRS BURKE: My question is to the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Gallagher. Ms Gallagher, yesterday you said that you had only recently become a shareholder of Rhodium. What handover arrangements were undertaken at the time of your becoming a shareholder to ensure that you were briefed and brought up to date regarding your responsibilities and issues currently before the board?